“The horrible events” that have occurred in the last 48 hours in Gaza “beyond comprehension”, declared the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, on Sunday, who considers that certain actions of the Israeli army can constitute “war crimes”.
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“The killing of so many people in schools turned into shelters, hundreds of people fleeing al-Chifa hospital for their lives while thousands more continue to be displaced in southern Gaza, are actions that go against of the basic protections that the law
international must grant to civilians,” he warned in a statement.
These statements come as the World Health Organization (WHO) aims to evacuate the last patients from al-Chifa hospital, the largest in the Gaza Strip, which it considers has become a “killing zone “.
According to the Israeli army, which invaded the hospital complex on Wednesday, the latter houses a Hamas hideout, specially installed in a network of tunnels. The Islamist movement, which seized power in Gaza in 2007, denies this.
Hamas also claimed on Saturday that Israeli attacks on the UN-run Jabaliya refugee camp in the north of the territory had left more than 80 dead, including at least 50 in a school hosting displaced people.
Mr. Türk also described as “horrific” images presented as the aftermath of an Israeli attack on the UN-run al-Fakhoura school in Jabaliya camp, which “clearly shows a large number of women, children and seriously injured or wounded men.” dead
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights indicated that in Khan Younes, in the southern Gaza Strip, the Israeli army “dropped leaflets asking residents to go to unspecified “recognized shelters, although there are strikes all over the Gaza Strip.”
“Regardless of warnings, Israel is obliged to protect civilians wherever they are,” he declared, recalling in particular the principle of proportionality in matters of international law.
“Breach of these rules can constitute a war crime,” Türk said.
According to Mr. Türk, at least three other schools housing displaced people have been attacked in the last 48 hours.
“The pain, terror and fear on the faces of children, women and men is too much to bear,” he said.
“How much more violence, bloodshed and misery will it take for people to come to their senses? How many more civilians will be killed?” he continued.
“Humanity must come first,” said Mr. Türk, stressing the absolute need for a ceasefire “now”.
The conflict was triggered by the attack by Hamas on Israeli soil on October 7, on a scale unprecedented in Israel’s history.
According to the authorities, 1,200 people died, the vast majority civilians.
In retaliation, Israel vowed to “annihilate” the movement, with its army relentlessly shelling the tiny Palestinian territory, where it also launched a ground operation on 27 October.
According to the Hamas government, 12,300 people have been killed in Israeli bombings since October 7, including more than 5,000 children.