CAIRO: The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) issued a statement Wednesday condemning the Israeli shelling of its Jabalia school in Gaza, describing it as a serious violation of international law by Israeli forces.
“Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a U.N. designated shelter in Gaza. Children killed in their sleep; this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced,” the statement read.
At least 20 people were killed in the attack, AFP reported.
Pierre Krähenbühl, the UNRWA commissioner-general, said in his statement that the precise location of the Jabalia Elementary Girls School and the fact that it was housing thousands of internally displaced people was communicated to the Israeli army 17 times to ensure its protection; “the last being at 10 minutes to 9 p.m. last night, just hours before the fatal shelling.”
Earlier, UNRWA spokesman Christopher Gunness in a statement condemned the incident, describing it as another “flagrant violation of the neutrality of their premises, we call on all the warring parties to respect the inviolability of U.N. property.”
This shelling is not the first time Israel has been accused of human rights violations for attacks on U.N. schools, as another bombing occurred last week that killed 15 Palestinians and left more than 200 injured, according to Reuters.
The Egyptian Foreign Affairs Ministry condemned the bombing in a stern statement, with official spokesman Badr Abdel Atty stating that this bombing was not just a huge violation of international law, but also “increases hatred” between the two parties and made the situation more complicated, Al-Wafd reported Friday.
Abdel Atty called for an immediate end to the targeting of civilians, and unconditional acceptance of the Egyptian cease-fire initiative because “it is the only way to protect Palestinians.”
The UNRWA statement Wednesday called for international deliberations to put an end to continuing “carnage.”
UNRWA shelters a huge number of Palestinians inside its schools and posted on its Twitter account Wednesday that the number of Palestinians in shelters has reached 204,166.
“This is the sixth time that one of our schools has been struck. Our staff, the very people leading the humanitarian response, is being killed. Our shelters are overflowing; tens of thousands may soon be stranded in the streets of Gaza, without food, water and shelter if attacks on these areas continue,” UNRWA’s statement said.