29 killed in Israeli airstrike on shelter near Khan Younis, Gaza

It occurred as people were playing and watching football on school grounds.

Seri Mazliana | July 10, 2024, 10:37 PM



At least 29 people have died after Israel launched an airstrike on a shelter near Khan Younis, southern Gaza on Jul. 9 (Singapore time).

According to Reuters, Palestinian authorities said that the attack occurred outside a school in the town of Abassan al-Kabira, while displaced Gazans were watching a football match.

People were playing and watching football

53 others were also injured from the airstrike at the Al-Awdah school, which is also a shelter, reported Al Jazeera.

In footage obtained by Al Jazeera, young Palestinians could be seen playing football on the school grounds while spectators watched.

They then fled the scene when a loud explosion occurred.

Towards the end of the clip, bodies and debris were seen scattered around the area in the aftermath of the attack.

Everything was "normal" and attack was "sudden"

Ghazzal Nasser, a young woman who spoke to Reuters in Abassan, said that the situation appeared "normal" prior to the incident.

She noted that there were also people buying and selling food and drinks.

"There was no sound of planes or anything," she added.

Another woman who spoke to Reuters, Asmaa Qudeih, said the missile suddenly struck the area while it was packed with people. She also said her relatives were killed by the airstrike.

Asmaa added that she witnessed bodies and body parts flying in the air when it occurred.

A Palestinian boy who spoke to Al Jazeera said he lost his uncle, cousins and other relatives in the airstrike.

Airstrike occurred amid ceasefire talks

The Israel Defense Force (IDF) said it was looking into reports of civilian deaths due to the attack, Al Jazeera reported.

The IDF said it used "precise munition" to target a terrorist of Hamas's military wing who had taken part in the Oct. 7, 2023 attack on Israel, the BBC reported.

The strike on Al-Awdah school was condemned by the European Union and Germany.

Israel recently launched an airstrike on another Gaza school in the past week.

On Jul. 9 (Singapore time), the IDF said that it had struck Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (referring to a specific group, and not a blanket term) operatives in a different airstrike in Nuseirat, reported The Times of Israel.

The BBC reported that at least 16 were killed in the airstrike on Al-Jaouni school in Nuseirat.

The IDF said it had taken "numerous steps" to "mitigate the risk of harming civilians, including the use of precise aerial surveillance and additional intelligence", the BBC reported.

The IDF added that Hamas militants were using the location as a "hideout" to carry out attacks against IDF troops, and that Hamas continued to "exploit civilian structures and the civilian population as human shields" for its terror attacks.

Hamas called the attack a "massacre" on "defenceless displaced civilians" and said on its English-language Telegram channel that many of the dead and wounded were women, children and the elderly.

Ceasefire talks

The attacks took place amid ramped up talks for a ceasefire.

U.S. CIA Director William Burns and Israel's Mossad chief David Barnea are expected to meet on Jul. 10.

Burns had met with Egypt President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo on Jul. 9 for a separate truce talk, according to Saudi Arabia English-language newspaper Arab News.

The talks were organised after Hamas demanded Israel's commitment to end the war before they sign a ceasefire agreement.

More than 38,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the start of the war on Oct. 7, 2023, according to local health officials.

Top photo via UNRWA/Facebook