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Israel-Hamas: UN, US denounce school attack; death toll reaches 14K

Israel-Hamas

Israel-Hamas: UN, US denounce school attack; death toll reaches 14K

Gaza’s Hamas government reported, on Sunday, that the death toll in the conflict between Israeli forces and Hamas militants in Gaza had risen to 13,000 since the war started on October 7th.

Hamas gunmen killed approximately 1,200 people, predominantly civilians, and took roughly 240 more as hostages after crossing the heavily fortified Gaza border, as stated by Israel.

AFP reports that the Hamas government said more than 5,500 children were among the dead, alongside 3,500 women, with 30,000 more people wounded. Its health ministry has previously said it can no longer give exact tolls as intense fighting has prevented bodies from being recovered.

According to AFP reports, Hamas government said over 5,500 children and 3,500 women were among the dead, with an additional 30,000 individuals injured. The health ministry indicated challenges in providing precise counts due to ongoing intense conflict hindering the retrieval of bodies.

The White House on Sunday however said it was looking into the devastating blast at a United Nations-run school and shelter in northern Gaza, an official said.

According to CNN, Washington is gathering information about Saturday’s strikes on the UN-run school that was used as a shelter in Gaza, Deputy National Security Adviser, Jon Finer, said on Sunday.

“What I can say at this point — and we’re also in touch with the Israelis to try to find out what they know about what happened — is that, if harm was done to innocent civilians sheltering at a UN site, that would be totally unacceptable,” Finer said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Sunday that he was “deeply shocked” that two UN schools were struck in less than 24 hours in the Gaza Strip, killing and injuring dozens of people – many women and children – “as they were seeking safety in United Nations premises.”

“Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians are seeking shelter at United Nations facilities throughout Gaza due to the intensified fighting. I reaffirm that our premises are inviolable,” Guterres said in a statement, according to Jerusalem Post.

A spokesperson for the UN Relief and Works Agency, which runs the schools in Palestinian refugee camps and serves as the main UN relief agency in Gaza, confirmed the strike on Saturday.

Within a 24-hour span, a UNRWA school in northern Gaza was hit for the second time, according to the agency. Concerns from leaders and human rights workers arose regarding the significant number of civilians killed during Israel’s attack on the Palestinian territory.

Hostage deal

The Prime Minister of Qatar, a mediator who has helped broker talks to free Hamas’ hostages in Gaza in return for a ceasefire, said on Sunday “the challenges that remain in the negotiations are very minor,” but did not provide details or a timeline.

“I think that I’m now more confident that we are close enough to reach a deal that can bring the people safely back to their homes,” said Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.

US Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer told NBC they were “closer than we have been in quite some time” to securing a deal. But he added on CBS, “The mantra that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed really does apply.”

Meanwhile, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday said the defense establishment had noted a growing trend of “Iran pushing for militia attacks against Israel using its proxies in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.”

Jerusalem Post reports that although Yemen and Syrian proxies of the Islamic Republic have both attacked the Jewish state several times since Operation Swords of Iron began, to date, Iraq has gone under the radar, and most proxy attacks have been against the US.

“We are following these trends, and will know the right time, place, and intensity with which to act,” said Gallant.

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