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Israeli airstrike kills dozens sheltering in UN school, Gaza officials say

Dozens of people have been killed and multiple others injured in an overnight Israeli airstrike on a United Nations-run school in central Gaza, according to hospital and government authorities in the Palestinian enclave.

The school, run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), was housing displaced people in the Nuseirat refugee camp at the time of the strike, the Gaza government media office said.

In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it had taken “many measures” to minimize the danger in advance of the strike, including aerial surveillance and the use of “additional precise intelligence.”

The attack came after the IDF ramped up ground and air assaults in the center of the strip on Tuesday amid a deepening humanitarian crisis there. Palestinians in central Gaza have reported that the intensity and frequency of Israeli strikes in the last week have felt like the beginning of the war.

Gaza authorities said the dead and injured continue to be brought to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, which is operating at three times its clinical capacity, “signaling a real disaster that will lead to a greater increase in the number of martyrs,” the Gaza media office said.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which has supported Al-Aqsa hospital, said Wednesday it had taken in more than 70 people who had been killed, and more than 300 injured, in just 48 hours, amid an escalation in bombing and ground fighting.

Karin Huster, an MSF nurse, said in the group’s statement: “We have seen hospitals being bombed. We have seen refugee camps being bombed. We have seen humanitarian warehouses being bombed. The situation is apocalyptic.”

The latest attack also came as American, Egyptian and Qatari officials met in Doha to revive negotiations on a new ceasefire and hostage release deal.

The meetings follow a three-phase proposal — characterized as an Israeli plan — laid out by US President Joe Biden that would pair a release of hostages with a “full and complete ceasefire” in Gaza.

On Wednesday, Israel’s Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant said the country’s military offensive in Gaza would not be halted for any resumption of ceasefire and hostage release talks with Hamas.

“We are in a process of continuous engagement to wear down the enemy. Any negotiations with the terrorist organization Hamas will only be conducted under fire,” Gallant said in a recorded video statement.

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