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UN reports 12 dead in Gaza shelter during fighting

by Reporter - Jan 25 99 Views 0 Comment

UN reports 12 dead in Gaza shelter during fighting


The UN's Palestinian refugee agency reports that a UN facility in Khan Younis, located in southern Gaza, was hit, resulting in the deaths of at least 12 individuals and injuries to 75 others. During the conflict on the western fringes of the city, the Khan Younis Training Centre of UNRWA was struck by two shells. The commissioner expressed his disapproval of the "flagrant violation of fundamental laws of warfare".


The Israeli military has confirmed that an airstrike or artillery attack did not cause the event carried out by its soldiers. The statement said that it was assessing Israeli activities in the vicinity and investigating the potential involvement of "Hamas fire". Israeli forces are now engaged in combat with Hamas militants as they make progress into the western part of Khan Younis. This comes after the IDF announced that they had successfully surrounded the city.


The clashes and bombings in the vicinity of the city's primary medical facilities have resulted in the confinement of several patients, personnel, and other individuals. The battle was initiated by an extraordinary incursion over the border by Hamas into southern Israel on 7 October, resulting in about 1,300 fatalities and the abduction of around 250 others.


According to the Health Ministry under the control of Hamas, the number of fatalities in Gaza has surpassed 25,700. Due to the ongoing conflict over the past 12 weeks, approximately 1.7 million individuals, which accounts for around 75% of the population, have been displaced. A significant number of these individuals have sought refuge either inside or near UN installations.


The Khan Younis Training Centre is a substantial UNRWA shelter, with an estimated population of 30,000 to 40,000 individuals inside its premises. According to UNRWA, the compound was identified, and its exact location was communicated to Israeli authorities. Both the complex and the residents within it are entitled to protection under international law.

Nevertheless, a minimum of six individuals who had been forced to leave their homes were fatally wounded, and a significant number of people sustained injuries when the training facility was targeted on Monday during fierce combat in the vicinity. 


UNRWA's Gaza director, Thomas White, said that a structure at the facility, which was accommodating 800 individuals from northern Gaza, was struck on Wednesday afternoon.

During an evening interview with the BBC, he said that the building in Rafah was targeted by "two tank rounds" resulting in the death of at least nine individuals. Mr White released a statement on Thursday morning, stating that two rounds struck the structure and subsequently ignited. The number of fatalities has reached twelve, while fifteen of the wounded are now in serious condition, as stated by the speaker. "Several missions to evaluate the situation were rejected." Yesterday evening, the United Nations successfully accessed the impacted regions to provide medical care to those suffering from trauma, provide necessary medical resources, and safely transport wounded patients to Rafah. He said that the situation in Khan Younis highlights a persistent inability to adhere to the basic principles of international humanitarian law, which include distinguishing between military targets and civilians, ensuring that the use of force is proportionate, and taking necessary procedures to minimize harm during assaults. This behaviour is not acceptable and is repulsive. It has to be put to an end. 


The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has conducted a thorough analysis of its operating systems and has concluded that an airstrike or artillery attack did not cause the event in question carried out by the IDF. "An extensive evaluation of the operations of the forces in the surrounding area is currently in progress," it said. The IDF is also investigating the potential that the strike was a consequence of Hamas artillery.


Vedant Patel, representing the US State Department, reiterated Washington's demand for the safeguarding of people in Gaza. "We strongly condemn the recent assault on the UN's Khan Younis training facility," she said, expressing deep worry about the incident.

The IDF also said on Wednesday afternoon that its troops had "launched a divisional manoeuvre on West Khan Younis" that was targeting Hamas "outposts, infrastructure, and command and control centres".


"Dismantling Hamas' military framework in western Khan Yunis is the heart of the logic behind the operation." The IDF added that Hamas "exploits the civilian population, exploits shelters and hospitals" - something the group has denied. Gaza's health ministry meanwhile accused the IDF of "isolating hospitals in Khan Younis and carrying out massacres in the western area of the city". The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said the al-Amal Hospital, which it runs, and its local headquarters were under "siege" by Israeli forces, trapping patients, wounded people and an estimated 13,000 displaced people.

"They are currently unable to evacuate along with the thousands of people in the hospital, including 850 patients, due to roads to and from the building being either inaccessible or too dangerous." The IDF has issued evacuation orders for western parts of Khan Younis, including those where Nasser and al-Amal are located. The UN estimates there are about 88,000 residents and 425,000 displaced people in the area.


Mr White told the BBC that tens of thousands more people were now on the move, heading south to Rafah, on the border with Egypt, where as many as 1.4 million are already sheltering. Five men are seen walking towards the combat zone holding a white flag before there is a burst of gunfire and one of them falls to the ground. It was not clear who opened fire. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was asked in the Parliament on Wednesday whether such pictures would prompt him to push for a ceasefire in Gaza. He replied: "No one wants to see this conflict go on for a moment longer than is necessary and we do want to see an immediate and sustained humanitarian pause."


Efforts involving several countries to try to reach a ceasefire are ongoing, with one plan said to include a month-long truce and phased release of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners. But both Israel and Hamas appear to have rejected proposals, and hopes of any progress have been dampened.


Egypt's President, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, meanwhile accused Israel of deliberately holding up aid deliveries at the Egyptian-controlled Rafah border crossing as "a form of pressure on the Gaza Strip and its people over the conflict and the release of hostages". However, an Israeli defence ministry agency co-ordinating the deliveries with Egypt and the UN rejected the claim, insisting that "There is no limit to the amount of aid that can enter Gaza". 


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