New York [US], November 20 (ANI): Condemning the attack, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Sunday that he is "deeply shocked" after the two UN-run schools were attacked in less than 24 hours in Gaza, as the Israel-Hamas war enters day 44.
He added by saying that several women and children who were seeking shelter in the UNRWA schools there have been reportedly killed or suffered serious injuries.
In a post on social media platform X, Gutteres wrote, "I am deeply shocked that 2 @UNRWA schools were struck in less than 24 hours in Gaza.""Dozens of people--many women and children--were killed and injured as they were seeking safety in @UN premises," he added and reaffirmed, saying "our premises are inviolable."Describing it as a "horrifying" incident, a top UN official said that a school run by the United Nations in northern Gaza has been attacked.
Video from al-Fakhoura School in Jabalya, which was being used as a shelter for displaced people, showed bloodied bodies across a series of rooms on the two floors of the two-story building. Many women and children are among the dead.
In the video, one room appeared to contain about a dozen bodies lying on the floor, covered in dust. Desks are strewn and smashed up and a huge hole can be seen in one of the room's walls. In the building courtyard, a canopy roof across a metal structure appears to have been torn off, and debris is visible on the ground, as per CNN.
A spokesperson for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Juliette Touma, confirmed the incident. The total number of casualties remains unclear, she said, as information is still coming in.
UNRWA runs the schools in Palestinian refugee camps and serves as the main UN relief agency in Gaza.
Touma could not confirm what caused the incident or who was responsible.UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini, who called the images "horrifying" in a post on X, said thousands of displaced people had been sheltering there at the time of the incident.
The Israeli military is reviewing the incident, it told CNN but has made no further comment.
Egypt and Qatar have already blamed Israel's military campaign in the battered enclave for the incident. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry called it "bombing" and said it was the latest in a series of Israeli violations against civilians in Gaza.
Qatar called on independent investigators from the United Nations to go to Gaza to examine what it described as the "ongoing targeting of schools and hospitals", as per CNN.
The incident comes the second time in twenty-four hours that a UNRWA school in northern Gaza has been hit, the agency said. Another school in Zaitoun was sheltering 4,000 people when it was struck multiple times on Friday, Touma told CNN.
She added that ambulances have reportedly been unable to get to the school, most likely due to the fighting and the communications blackout. (ANI)