Israel strike on UN school that left dozens dead used US munitions, CNN analysis finds

Israel strike on UN school that left dozens dead

GAZA CITY – Dozens of people were killed by an overnight Israeli airstrike on a United Nations-run school in central Gaza, authorities said, in an attack that CNN analysis found was conducted with a US-made weapon.
The school, run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), was housing displaced people in the Nuseirat refugee camp at the time of the incident, the Gaza government media office said.
At least 45 people were killed in the strike, a spokesperson from Gaza’s Ministry of Health told CNN. Authorities at the nearby Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital said casualties could rise as victims were still being brought to the hospital on Thursday morning.
The Israeli military confirmed it carried out the airstrike, which it said targeted a Hamas compound operating inside the school. CNN cannot independently verify the claims.
In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it had taken “many measures” to minimize the danger in advance of the strike, including aerial surveillance and the use of “additional precise intelligence.”
A CNN analysis of video from the scene and a review by an explosive weapons expert found that US-made munitions were used in the strike on the school. CNN identified fragments of at least two US-made GBU-39 small diameter bombs (SDB) in video filmed at the scene by a journalist working for CNN.
It marks the second time in two weeks that CNN has been able to verify the use of US-manufactured munitions in deadly Israeli attacks on displaced Palestinians, the first being a deadly IDF strike on a displacement camp in Rafah on May 26.
Thursday’s attack came after the IDF ramped up ground and air assaults in the center of the strip last Tuesday amid a deepening humanitarian crisis there. Palestinians in central Gaza have reported that the intensity and frequency of Israeli strikes in the last week have felt like the beginning of the war.
According to a journalist in the area working with CNN, the school was hit by at least three missiles that penetrated the three-story building. The facility was believed to be housing approximately 20,000 displaced people who had taken shelter in the school, its yard, and the surrounding area, according to the journalist.
“We were asleep here, (and) we suddenly saw rockets falling. I went down holding my child, we were both injured, my relative was martyred in that room,” Jaber Abu Daher told CNN on Thursday.
He said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “is killing the civilians, he is not killing militants, it’s innocent people asleep in a UNRWA facility… what did children and elderly do? What did they do to him? He is looking for Hamas people? Go look for them, why are you killing us in schools?”
Gaza authorities said the dead and injured continue to be brought to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, which is operating at three times its clinical capacity, “signaling a real disaster that will lead to a greater increase in the number of martyrs,” the Gaza media office said.
UNRWA said its school was “possibly hit several times” overnight by the strikes. An UNRWA spokesperson told CNN it was not able to confirm Israeli reports that Hamas operatives had been using the school as a compound.
“We remind all parties to the conflict that schools and other UN premises must never be used for military or fighting purposes,” the spokesperson said. “UN facilities must be protected at all times.”
Munitions made in the US were also used in the deadly Israeli strike on a displacement camp in Rafah late last month, a CNN analysis of video from the scene and a review by explosive weapons experts found.
After that attack, US President Joe Biden refused calls to alter his policy towards Israel, suggesting the deadly Rafah strike had not yet crossed a red line that would force changes in American support. He had previously said in a CNN interview that he wouldn’t allow certain US weapons to be used in a major offensive in Rafah. (CNN)…[+]