On 8 April 1970, Israeli forces attacked Bahr al-Baqar Primary School in Sharqeya governorate, Egypt, killing 30 children and injuring many more. About 53 years later, Israel bombed two other schools in the besieged northern Gaza Strip: Al-Fakhoura School in Jabalia Camp and Tal Al-Zaatar School. The attacks resulted in hundreds of deaths and injuries, mostly among children and women who sought shelter in the schools from the Israeli onslaught, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
Mai Al-Kaila, the Palestinian Minister of Health, said on Saturday that Israel’s “destruction machine” had been waging its aggression and war on the Gaza Strip for the 43rd consecutive day, bringing the death toll to more than 11,800, including more than 4,900 children, about 3,155 women, and more than 690 elderly people. The number of wounded exceeded 29,000, mostly children and women.
Al-Kaila added that these numbers were not final, as there were many more victims buried under the rubble.
She said during a press conference in Ramallah that 26 out of 35 hospitals in the Gaza Strip had been destroyed and were out of service. She denounced the Israeli attacks on hospitals, doctors, and patients in the Gaza Strip as “a blatant aggression, a heinous crime, and genocide against the entire health sector.”
The minister called on the United Nations, international health organizations, and the International Committee of the Red Cross to pressure Israel to allow the transfer of premature babies and patients remaining in Al-Shifa Hospital to hospitals in the West Bank or in Egypt, where they could receive treatment among their people and siblings.
Al-Kaila questioned why Israel was preventing medicines from entering and depriving patients of their right to receive treatment. She asked, “For how long will hospitals, including the patients and medical staff in Gaza and the West Bank, remain hostage to the machine of aggression, destruction, targeting, and siege by the Israeli occupation army without supervision or accountability, before the eyes and ears of the international community?”
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the Al-Fakhoura School massacre proved that Israel’s declared war on civilians aimed to empty the entire northern Gaza Strip area of all Palestinian presence.
Jordan and Egypt expressed their condemnation of Israel’s bombing of Al-Fakhoura School, which belongs to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in the northern Gaza Strip. Egypt described the attack as another war crime committed by Israel in Gaza.
The UNRWA Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini, said: “We received horrific pictures and videos of dozens of people killed or injured in the attack on another UNRWA school that shelters thousands of displaced people in northern Gaza.”
He posted on his “X” account: “These attacks are not normal. They must stop.” He stressed: “There is no more time to wait for a humanitarian ceasefire.”
According to the agency, 3,624 tonnes of food, 23 tonnes of fuel, and 3,971 tonnes of water have entered the Strip so far.
The agency also said that the amount of fuel that entered Gaza on Saturday, after weeks of delay, was very limited. It said that the fuel was only enough for Gazans to get two-thirds of their daily need for clean drinking water.
UNRWA warned that the low amount of fuel would mean that sewage water would continue to flood large parts of Gaza, increasing the risk of disease. It also said that 70% of solid waste, which poses a major threat to the health of Gaza residents, would not be removed.
Meanwhile, the Palestine Red Crescent Society announced that 6 of its ambulances in Gaza stopped working due to running out of fuel. The society said that its emergency medical teams were still trapped at Al-Ahly Baptist Hospital, amid intense shelling and gunfire by Israeli soldiers.
The society called for immediate action to protect its teams, who were in danger.
In a related context, the General Director of Hospitals in Gaza, Mohamed Zaqout, said that Israel forced the sick and wounded out of the Al-Shifa Complex, causing the death of 6 dialysis patients and 22 intensive care patients.