Israel bombs Gaza as minister poised to quit government

Israel bombs its bombardment of Gaza on Saturday as a war Cabinet minister looked set to carry through on his threat to quit a government under mounting pressure over its conduct of the military campaign. Strikes rattled various parts of the Gaza Strip and appeared to be focused on central areas of the Palestinian territory, witnesses and AFP journalists reported. hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic hic smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc smc

The onslaught persisted, despite scrutiny on Israel after its warplanes carried out an attack Thursday on a U.N.-run school that a Gaza hospital said killed 37 people.

The Israeli military acknowledged it conducted the strike in the Nuseirat refugee camp, saying it targeted a base of the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas and killed 17 “terrorists.”

Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, accused the army of providing “false information.” The group said three people Israel listed as dead were actually still alive.

UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees that ran the school, condemned Israel for striking a facility it said had been housing 6,000 displaced people.

In a post on social media platform X, the agency said the “school turned shelter” had hit “without prior warning.”

“Targeting U.N. premises or using for military purposes cannot become the new norm. This must stop and all those responsible held accountable,” it said.

Israel accuses Hamas and its allies in Gaza of using civilian infrastructure, including U.N.-run facilities, as operational centers — charges the militants deny.

The war, now in its ninth month, has brought widespread devastation to Gaza, with one in 20 people dead or wounded, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry. Most of Gaza’s 2.4 million inhabitants are displaced.

This grim reality was underscored by a strike whose aftermath, depicted in an AFP video, saw men salvaging what they could from a bombed-out Gaza City building and carrying away a shrouded body in a debris-strewn alley.

Maher al-Mughair, who lives nearby, recounted the attack Friday, saying: “We heard what sounded like a drone firing a missile, followed by another coming from an F-16 fighter jet.”

“So we checked and found women and children in pieces. What did the children and women do wrong? They are defenseless people, merely civilians,” he told AFPTV.

In the same city Saturday, five people killed and seven wounded when an Israeli warplane bombed the Mhana family’s home in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood, Gaza emergency services said.

Elsewhere, medics at Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital said Israel bombs six people killed

Others wounded in an Israeli rocket attack on the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, where witnesses said gun battles raged.

The Israeli army said it struck “dozens of terrorist cells and infrastructures” in Deir al-Balah and Bureij in the past day. Troops were also carrying out operations in Rafah.

The war sparked by Hamas’ October 7 attack, which resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Militants from Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups also took 251 hostages, 120 of whom remain in Gaza, including 41 the army says are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory military offensive has killed at least 36,731 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

Israel faced growing diplomatic isolation, with international court cases accusing it of war crimes and several European countries recognizing a Palestinian state.

Israel’s U.N. envoy, Gilad Erdan, said Friday he “disgusted” that the Israeli military would be on an upcoming United Nations list of countries and armed forces that fail to protect children during war.

A diplomatic source later told AFP that Hamas as well as Palestinian Islamic Jihad would also included in the annual U.N. report, which highlights human rights violations against children in conflict zones and expected by the end of June.

Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad designated as terrorist organizations by several countries, including the United States and the European Union.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is due to address the U.S. Congress next month, also faces pressure from within his right-wing government.

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