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Israel strikes south Gaza kindergarten, casualties confirmed

Several dead, wounded after Israel bombs south Gaza kindergarten housing displaced Palestinians
2 min read
04 February, 2024
Germany's foreign minister has criticised Israel's plans to push its offensive deeper into southern Gaza where the death toll has continued to climb.
Rafah remains the largest urban area in Gaza yet to be stormed by Israeli forces [Getty]

Several civilians were killed in the early hours of Sunday after Israel bombed a kindergarten housing displaced people in the southern Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Medical sources said that a number of civilians, including two girls, were killed while dozens were wounded after Israeli jets targeted the kindergarten in Al-Salam neighbourhood, east of Rafah.

Images shared by WAFA showed some wounded children at a hospital.

Israel has repeatedly targeted schools, hospitals, and other UN-run sites housing displaced Palestinians in the besieged enclave since the start of the war on October 7.

It claims Hamas is using civilian infrastructure as command centres and operations bases, but the group has outright denied this.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock took a significant stance earlier this week when she told the Israeli army that any offensive in Rafah would be unjustified.

"Taking action now in Rafah, the last and most overcrowded place [in the Gaza Strip], as announced by the Israeli defence minister, would simply not be justifiable," she told the RND media organisation in remarks published on Saturday.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said on Thursday that the military has completed the mission of "dismantling Hamas" in Khan Younis – Gaza’s second largest city – and will turn its attention towards Rafah, a city bordering Egypt where tens of thousands of Palestinians have fled to.

Baerbock said she was shocked after hearing this.

"The majority of the victims are women and children. Let's just imagine they are our children," Germany’s top diplomat told the RND.

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"Together with our American partners, I have been making it clear to the Israeli government for some time that the people in Gaza cannot disappear into thin air."

Like most Western powers, Germany has expressed unwavering support for Israel in its war on Gaza, claiming Tel Aviv had a "right to defend itself." But the colossal death toll has raised concerns, and many of Israel’s closest allies have criticised it for its disproportionate use of force.

Since the start of Israel’s unprecedented air and ground offensive in Gaza, more than 27,000 people have died, mostly women and children.

Much of the territory has been flattened, and Israel has said it plans on expanding a buffer zone inside the enclave, thus taking more Palestinian land.