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War in the Middle East: USA demands clarification after attack on school

War in the Middle East: USA demands clarification after attack on school

Israel claims to have targeted terrorists in the attack on a school, Palestinians speak of many civilian casualties. The USA demands transparency. The news at a glance:

The United States is demanding a full investigation into the deadly air strike by Israeli forces on a school building in the Gaza Strip. Even if Israel’s army tried to kill 20 to 30 extremists, but children were killed in the process, “that shows that something is wrong,” said US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.

“These are all issues that still need to be verified, and that’s what we want to see.” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called for an independent investigation into the attack. Meanwhile, it remains unclear what will become of a plan announced by US President Joe Biden to end the fighting in the Gaza Strip. “We have not yet received an official response from Hamas,” Miller said.

According to Palestinian authorities, at least 30 people were killed in the Israeli air strike the night before last, while the Islamist Hamas group said the number of dead was 40. In addition, more than 50 people were injured. Medical sources said that most of the victims were women, children and young people.

School building served as emergency accommodation for UNRWA

According to the UN Relief and Works Agency for the Palestinians (UNRWA), the school building in the refugee district of Nuseirat served as emergency accommodation. According to the Israeli army, 20 to 30 members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were in three classrooms during the attack, planning and carrying out attacks from there. According to initial findings, many of them were killed.

Intelligence information had previously indicated that there were “no women or children” in the affected rooms, said Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari. The school had been monitored in recent days and the attack had been postponed twice to avoid civilian casualties, another army spokesman explained. As is often the case in the ongoing war, neither the information provided by the Palestinian side nor by the Israelis could be independently verified.

US Department spokesman: situation is complicated

Miller spoke of a difficult situation. Israel has the right to take action against extremists if they were actually hiding in the school. However, they were holed up near civilians – and Israel has an obligation to protect civilians as best as possible. Israel’s government and armed forces must be “completely transparent about what happened there.”

Since the beginning of the war, school buildings belonging to the UN Palestinian relief agency have often served as a place of refuge for internally displaced persons – also in the hope that Israel’s army will not deliberately attack the UN buildings. Israel, in turn, accuses Hamas of operating from civilian facilities and thereby endangering civilians or deliberately using them as a human shield.

Hagari announced that the identities of the terrorists killed would soon be revealed. Some of them were involved in the massacre on October 7 last year – the worst in the history of the State of Israel. At that time, fighters from Hamas and other extremist groups entered Israel from the Gaza Strip, killed more than 1,200 people and abducted more than 250 hostages in the coastal area controlled by Hamas.

Germany and allies: Hamas should accept Biden plan

The United States, Germany, France and Great Britain called on Hamas to fully accept and immediately implement the plan recently presented by US President Biden to end the Gaza war. They fully support the comprehensive plan, according to a joint letter published by the Élysée Palace.

The plan envisages ending the war in three phases. A complete and unrestricted ceasefire lasting six weeks is to lead to a permanent ceasefire in a second phase. According to the draft, the conditions for this are to be negotiated during the ceasefire. Hamas says it will only agree to an agreement if it includes an immediate and permanent ceasefire.

Hamas leader rejects ceasefire with disarmament

According to a US media report, Hamas leader Jihia al-Sinwar also rejects an agreement with Israel that would also provide for the disarmament of his terrorist militia. Hamas will neither hand over its weapons, “nor will it sign an agreement that requires this,” Al-Sinwar, who is allegedly in an unknown location in the Gaza Strip, is said to have instructed his organization’s negotiators. In its report, the Wall Street Journal cited Arab mediators who are in contact with the Hamas negotiators.

The Egyptian state-affiliated television station Al-Kahira News had previously reported, citing high-ranking government sources, that Hamas would respond to the draft in the coming days. Egypt, Qatar and the USA are mediating between Israel and Hamas, which do not conduct direct negotiations with each other as a matter of principle.

Gunmen killed in Gaza – they wanted to go to Israel

The Israeli army says it has killed three armed suspects who were allegedly trying to enter Israel from the Gaza Strip. Israeli soldiers in the southeast of the coastal area registered suspicious movements during the night, whereupon ground troops were sent near the Kerem Shalom border crossing and came under fire there. They responded to the attack. All three suspects were killed by the military. A soldier was also killed in the fight.

According to the army, an investigation is now underway into how the group was able to get so close to the heavily guarded border. The suspects were caught just 300 meters from the border, a military spokesman said. However, they were unable to cross the border fence into Israel.

Source: Stern

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