At least 16 killed and dozens injured in Israeli air strike on Gaza school, Palestinian officials say

At least 16 people were killed and dozens of others injured after Israel struck a school in central Gaza on Saturday, Palestinian officials said.

The air strike targeted a school that was sheltering displaced Palestinians, said officials from Gaza’s ministry of health.

However, Israel said their strike was targeting Hamas militants who were using the area as a hideout to plan and carry out attacks against its soldiers. It also said it took precautions to minimise damage to civilians before launching the air strike.

Hamas denied its fighters were there. Many of the dead were children, according to eyewitnesses.

“We came here running to see the targeted area, we saw bodies of children, in pieces, this is a playground, there was a trampoline here, there were swing-sets, and vendors,” Ayman al-Atouneh, a resident, told Reuters news agency.

Several dozen people were also severely injured and officials in Gaza fear the death toll could rise further.

Many of the wounded were in critical condition, Mahmoud Basal, spokesperson of the Gaza civil emergency service, said in a statement.

The attack meant no place in the enclave was safe for families who leave their houses to seek shelter, he said.

Earlier, Al-Nuseirat, one of the Gaza Strip’s eight historic refugee camps, was bombarded by Israel on Saturday.

Palestinians displaced by the Israeli air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip walk next to sewage flowing into the streets of the southern town of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip (AP)
Palestinians displaced by the Israeli air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip walk next to sewage flowing into the streets of the southern town of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip (AP)

An air strike on a house in the camp also killed at least 10 people and wounded many others, according to medics.

Israeli air strikes have killed at least 29 Palestinians in the past 24 hours and wounded 100 others, the Gaza health ministry said in its daily update.

Among the dead were also five journalists, raising the toll of journalists killed since 7 October to 158, according to the Gaza government media office.

Gaza health authorities say more than 38,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s offensive.

Israel has lost 323 soldiers in Gaza and says at least a third of the Palestinian dead are fighters.

Israel’s air and ground assault on Gaza has killed more than 38,000 Palestinians, a majority of whom were women and children, according to Gaza’s ministry of health. Most of the territory’s homes, schools, hospitals and places of worship have been reduced to rubble, and a majority of the 2.3 million population have been left homeless, and without adequate food supplies amid warnings of potential famine.

About 90 per cent of the population of Gaza has been displaced at least once since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war, according to a UN humanitarian agency.

About 1.9 million people are believed to be displaced in Gaza, Andrea De Domenico, head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the Palestinian territories, said.