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Hamas said 16 people were killed in an Israeli strike on Saturday on a UN-run school sheltering displaced people in the Gaza Strip, with the Israeli military saying it targeted “terrorists”.

The Hamas government's Health Ministry, which denounced a “heinous massacre”, said that 50 people had also been injured in this school in the Nusseirat camp (center) and transferred to the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Hospital.

The Palestinian movement denounced in a statement “a brutal bombardment” on “thousands of defenseless displaced civilians.”

The Israeli army said its aircraft had targeted “several terrorists” “in the area of ​​the UNRWA al-Jaouni school.”

“This location served as a hideout and operational infrastructure from which attacks were carried out against soldiers,” she said in a statement, adding that “numerous measures were taken to reduce the risk of harm to civilians.”

Asked by AFP, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) indicated that it did not have all the information immediately but specified that more than half of its infrastructure had been affected since the start of the war.

“At least 500 people sheltering in these facilities were killed as a result, including many women and children,” a spokesperson told AFP.

The agency said two of its employees were killed earlier Saturday in Al-Bureij (center) while rescuers reported 10 dead including three local journalists in an airstrike on a house in the Nousseirat camp.

“Shrapnel hit me when I was in a classroom, the children were injured,” Samah Abou Amsha told AFP at the al-Jaouni school. “Where should we go? Our children are dying of fear.”

An AFP correspondent saw frightened children crying and others searching through the rubble.

“There is absolutely no safe place in the Gaza Strip,” reacted the spokesman for the Civil Defense, Mahmoud Bassal, denouncing “a new massacre by the Israeli occupation.”

As the war in Gaza enters its 10th month on Sunday, diplomatic efforts have been relaunched to broker a ceasefire.

The war was triggered by an unprecedented attack by Hamas in Israel on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of 1,195 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official data.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas and launched a major military offensive in the Palestinian territory that has killed 38,098 Palestinians, mostly civilians, according to data from the health ministry of Hamas, which seized power in Gaza in 2007.

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