In the early hours of Thursday morning, 13 August 2020, an Israeli missile struck an elementary school in Gaza without detonating. No students were present at the time of the attack in the United Nations-run school in Al-Shati refugee camp, west of Gaza City, but the location of the attack prompted growing panic and speculations among civilians in the surrounding residential area.
The Israeli forces had been engaged in military escalation on Gaza starting from Wednesday, 12 August 2020, which involved airstrikes on farmlands, open areas, and Palestinian factions’ military sites. The airstrikes resumed in the early hours of Thursday, 13 August 2020, when the UN school was hit.
Adnan Abu Hasna, the spokesperson of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) stated: “One of [UNRWA] schools sustained damages as a result of Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip...Based on available information, the school appears to be Beach Co-Educational Elementary School ‘D’….”
The Ministry of Interior and National Security in Gaza stated that an Israeli drone missile landed in the school, damaging the building and prompting an evacuation, and that the explosives engineering squad is working on neutralizing the missile and eliminating any hazards.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemns the Israeli military attacks on the Gaza Strip and strongly condemns the attack on the UN-run elementary school. Al Mezan stresses that many of the attacks appear to violate the rules of international law, which prohibit directing armed attacks at civilians and civilian structures. Years of systematic impunity has only served to embolden such form of violations, and therefore, the international community must act swiftly to challenge rampant impunity and ensure accountability to deter future recurrence.