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Israel attacks UN-run school in northern Gaza, killing dozens

OIC, Tehran strongly condemn Israel for a string of massacres, renew call for immediate halt to Israeli aggression


By Abdul Bari Masoud

New Delhi/Tehran, Nov. 19: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a body of 57 Muslim nations, vehemently denounced the string of mass murders and other crimes carried out by the Israeli occupation. It also reiterated its demand that the international community – in particular, the UN Security Council – assume responsibility for an end to this vicious Israeli attack against the Palestinian people.

The Islamic Republic of Iran also issued a statement condemning Israel’s continued attacks on the civilian population in Gaza.

The most recent atrocity took place in the northern Gaza Strip at the UNRWA-affiliated Tal al-Zaatar and al-Fakhoura schools, leaving hundreds of martyrs and wounded – the majority of them were women and children who had been uprooted.

The OIC further denounced the horrific crimes carried out by the Israeli occupation at the Al-Shifa Medical Complex, including the forced removal of residents, patients, and medical personnel, as well as the facility’s conversion into a gated military barracks. It views this as an extension of the crimes against the Palestinian people in Gaza, including ethnic cleansing and genocide, carried out by the Israeli occupation army.

It also condemned Israeli warplanes’ targeting of a residential building in Balata Camp, east of the city of Nablus, which led to the deaths of five martyrs and a number of other wounded Palestinians. It considered this an extension of the daily crimes committed by the Israeli occupation forces in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.

The OIC warned of the dangerous escalation of attacks and organized terrorism carried out by the Israeli occupation forces and extremist settler groups, which led to the killing of more than two hundred Palestinian citizens throughout the West Bank since October 7.

The OIC renewed its call on the international community, especially the UN Security Council, to assume its responsibilities regarding the necessity of an immediate and comprehensive halt to this brutal Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people.

Meanwhile, Tehran also strongly condemned the recent Israeli airstrikes on UN-run schools in the northern Gaza Strip, which killed dozens of people, including children, saying the Tel Aviv regime is committing fresh war crimes against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip amid the silence and inaction of the international community.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani said, “Unfortunately, the occupying Zionist regime is ruthlessly and viciously perpetrating new war crimes and carnages on a daily basis against Palestinian women and children, who have taken refuge in houses, shelters, and temporary accommodation centers, in light of the inaction of world states and international bodies.”

In response to the criminal Israeli regime’s blatant and planned genocide against the helpless Palestinian people, he called on the entire community, especially the Muslim world, to assume its obligations and take swift, deterring action.

At least 50 people were killed in Israeli air raids on the al-Fakhoora School, run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), in the Jabalia refugee camp, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said. Several people were also killed and hundreds of others injured in a separate attack on another school in the Tal al-Zaatar neighborhood.

“Shelters are a place for safety. Schools are a place for learning. Tragic news of the children, women, and men killed while sheltering at al-Fakhouri school in northern Gaza: Civilians cannot and should not have to bear this any longer,” UN relief chief Martin Griffiths said in reaction to the Israeli air raids.

Tamara Alrifai, a spokesperson for UNRWA, said she had seen the “devastating” footage coming out of Jabalia in the aftermath of the bombing but was unable to establish direct contact with her colleagues on the ground.

“What we’re seeing is another one of these horrific incidents, where civilians, people who sought shelter in a protected UN building, are paying the price,” she said.

According to Alrifai, an Israeli order to evacuate to make way for its ground operations in the north has forced more than half of the 2.3 million people living in the Gaza Strip into an “exodus” south, a move that is reminiscent of other forced displacements.

“Many people who stayed in the north stayed in the UNRWA school because they thought that they would have a bit of safety there, but nowhere is safe in Gaza, not even our schools,” she said. “Unfortunately, people flee into our buildings with the blue flag looking for protection, but 70 of our buildings have been hit, so we, ourselves, are not protected.”

Alrifai added that 66 verified deaths occurred while seeking refuge in UN-run institutions, discounting the attack on Saturday.


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