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Gaza rescuers say Israeli strike on school kills four

The Holy Family school in Gaza is the second in two days to suffer a deadly Israeli strike
— Gaza Strip (Palestinian Territories) (AFP)

The civil defence agency in Hamas-run Gaza said a second Israeli strike in two days on a school sheltering displaced families killed at least four people, as the UN condemned the targeting of its shelters.

Israel's military said it hit "the area of the school" in Gaza City, adding the school complex was used as a militant hideout and housed "a Hamas weapons manufacturing facility.

The civil defence agency in Hamas-ruled Gaza said Ihab al-Ghusain, the group's deputy labour minister, was among those killed in the strike Sunday on the Holy Family School.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which owns the school, said hundreds of civilians had taken shelter there since the start of the war.

"The Latin Patriarchate condemns in the strongest terms the targeting of civilians or any belligerent actions that fall short of ensuring that civilians remain outside the combat scene," the church body said in a statement.

Gaza authorities said at least 16 people were killed and 75 injured in an Israeli strike on a UN-run school Saturday. Israel said that was also aimed at militants hiding among displaced at the Al-Jawni school.

The Israeli army accuses Hamas and other militants of hiding in schools, hospitals and other civilian infrastructure, a charge the group denies.

- 'Another school hit' -

Tens of thousands of Gaza residents have sought shelter in UN-run schools across the territory and the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, has expressed outrage at the repeat attacks on its facilities.

"Another day. Another month. Another school hit," Philippe Lazzarini, head of UNRWA, posted on social media platform X on Sunday.

UNRWA spokesperson Juliette Touma told AFP that more than half, or 190, of UNRWA's facilities have been hit -- "some more than once" -- in the military response to the October 7 Hamas attacks.

At least 196 UNRWA workers have been killed, including two on Saturday.

"When the war started we closed the schools and they became shelters," Touma said.

There have been 450 "incidents" involving UNRWA buildings during the war and Touma called damage to UN-protected facilities in the Gaza conflict "unprecedented in the history of the UN."

"Any hits on UN facilities are shocking and there has been a blatant disregard for international humanitarian law in regard to this conflict," said the spokesperson.

Hamas called the attack on Al-Jawni school in central Gaza, an "odious massacre".

The Israel military said it targeted "a hideout and operational infrastructure from which attacks" on its troops were carried out.

The October 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel resulted in the deaths of 1,195 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

Militants also seized 251 hostages, 116 of whom remain in Gaza including 42 the military says are dead.

Israel's military offensive has killed at least 38,153 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to data from the Hamas-run health ministry there.