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As you have all probably already read, 16 have reportedly died at a UN school-cum-shelter. And although at one stage, there were hints it may have been from a Hamas rocket, the consensus now seems to be it was from an Israeli shell.
The IDF claimed it told the Red Cross to evacuate civilians from the area, but Hamas prevented this from happening.
In recent days, Hamas has fired rockets from an area of Beit Hanoun where an UNRWA shelter is located. Last night, the Israel Defense Forces told the Red Cross to evacuate civilians from UNRWA’s shelter in Beit Hanoun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. today. UNRWA and the Red Cross received the message.
Hamas prevented civilians from evacuating the area during the window that the IDF gave them.
UNRWA’s Chris Gunness suggests the IDF did not allow civilians to leave.
Over the course of the day UNRWA tried 2 coodinate with the Israeli Army a window for civilians 2 leave & it was never granted RT
— Chris Gunness (@ChrisGunness) July 24, 2014
But why did UNRWA “try to coordinate this” to begin with? Surely, they did have pre-warning of the strike as the IDF claims. And it certainly would not make sense that the IDF do this, but not allow civilians to actually leave. It would seem that the IDF allegation that Hamas prevented people from leaving is true. Via The Guardian:
Thursday’s assault on the school – one of the grimmest incidents of the war – occurred at about 2.50pm as the playground was crowded with families waiting to be ferried to safety. According to survivors, one shell landed in the schoolyard followed by several more rounds that hit the upper stories of the building. Sabah Kafarna, 35, had also been sheltering at the school. “At about 11.30 someone from the municipality came to tell us that we were going to be moved because it was too dangerous. But the buses didn’t come. That’s why [there were] so many people all outside when the shells landed,” she said. “The shells came one after the other. I was inside by the windows when they smashed.”
Not only that, but there is something else fishy about what occurred. Buried in the CNN report on the tragedy, we see the following:
A CNN crew that visited the school three hours after the hit discovered a one-inch deep hole in the concrete in the courtyard where people were killed and injured. It appeared shrapnel struck people within a 30-meter radius. Walls were hit as high as about eight meters above the ground. CNN personnel didn’t see the remnants of any rocket or missile. Some witnesses told CNN there were three to four explosions.
So what we have here is a likely case of Hamas not only firing rockets at Israeli civilians (war crime) from near this UN facility (war crime), but also storing rockets there (war crime), and preventing civilians from leaving the area ahead of the pre-warned IDF strike (war crime). And we also have UNRWA lying about it.
As I tweeted earlier today to Gunness, is this your way of handing in your resignation?