The Latest | Israeli Strike Kills 33 In A Gaza School Filled With Displaced Families

Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Thursday, June 6, 2024. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)
Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Thursday, June 6, 2024. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)
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Israeli airstrikes in central Gaza killed at least 33 people overnight at a United Nations-run school sheltering displaced Palestinian families.

Israel claimed Thursday the school was being used as a Hamas compound, without providing evidence. Israel’s military said it was not aware of any civilian casualties in the strike on the school in Nuseirat refugee camp, and later said it had confirmed killing nine militants.

Casualties from the school strike — including three women and nine children — were taken to a hospital in nearby Deir al-Balah, as documented by hospital records and an Associated Press journalist. The hospital has already been overwhelmed by a stream of ambulances since Israeli forces launched a new offensive in central Gaza this week.

International pressure has been mounting on Israel to limit civilian bloodshed in its war against Hamas. Spain’s foreign minister announced Thursday that the country would ask a United Nations court for permission to join South Africa’s case accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza. Israel strongly denies the accusation.

More than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed by eight months of Israeli bombardments and ground offensives in Gaza, according to the Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians.

The war has largely cut off the flow of food, medicine and other supplies to Palestinians who are facing widespread hunger. United Nations agencies say over 1 million in Gaza could experience the highest level of starvation by mid-July.

Israel launched the war after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250. Around 80 hostages captured on Oct. 7 are believed to still be alive in Gaza, alongside the remains of 43 others.

Currently:

Israeli strike kills at least 33 people at a Gaza school the military claims was being used by Hamas.

— Spain applies to join South Africa’s case at top the U.N. court accusing Israel of genocide.

— A social media effort to draw attention to Rafah surges.

— Israeli settlers in the West Bank were hit with international sanctions. It only emboldened them.

— Yemen’s Houthi rebels unveil solid-fuel ‘Palestine’ missile that resembles Iranian hypersonic.

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

Here's the latest:

U.S. IS CIRCULATING A GAZA CEASE-FIRE RESOLUTION AT THE U.N., BUT ISRAEL PRIVATELY OBJECTS

UNITED NATIONS — The United States circulated a revised Security Council draft resolution that says a permanent cease-fire in the Gaza must be agreed to by Israel and Hamas.

It also spells out the three-phase plan to end the eight month war and start the reconstruction of the devastated Gaza Strip that it says Israel has accepted and calls on Hamas to accept.

In exchange for the agreement by both parties to a permanent cease-fire, the plan says all Israeli hostages in Gaza will be released and all Israeli forces will withdraw from Gaza.

But Israel already is privately objecting to its close ally’s latest attempt to stop the war.

The draft “welcomes the new ceasefire proposal announced on May 31, which is acceptable to Israel ... (and) calls upon Hamas to also accept it.”

An Israeli official told The Associated Press that the language overlooks Israel’s stated aim of destroying Hamas as a military force. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussion.

Because Israel believes that Hamas will engage in future military attacks, it is wary of signing a document that specifically stipulates a cease-fire. That language has a more permanent implication than a “cessation of hostilities,” which has also been mentioned in draft discussions.

Israel also objects to proposed language that “rejects any attempt at demographic or territorial change in the Gaza Strip.”

That includes “actions that reduce the territory of Gaza, such as through the permanent establishment officially or unofficially of so-called buffer zones,” which Israel has already said it plans.

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Associated Press writers Edith M. Lederer and Michael Weissenstein contributed to this report.

GAZA HOSPITAL SAYS FEWER WOMEN AND CHILDREN KILLED IN ISRAELI STRIKE ON SCHOOL THAN EARLIER REPORTED

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip — The hospital where bodies were brought after an Israeli strike on a school-turned-shelter in the Gaza Strip has amended its records to show that fewer women and children were among those killed.

The Israeli military says it carried out a precise strike early Thursday on three classrooms in the U.N.-run school where it says around 30 Palestinian militants were planning and orchestrating attacks. It said it has confirmed killing nine militants.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital initially reported that nine women and 14 children were among 33 people killed in the strike on the school.

The hospital morgue later amended those records to show that the dead included three women, nine children and 21 men. It was not immediately clear what caused the discrepancy.

EGYPT AND QATAR TELL U.S. THAT HAMAS WILL REPLY TO CEASE-FIRE OFFER IN THE COMING DAYS, ACCORDING TO A U.S. OFFICIAL

WASHINGTON — Egyptian and Qatari mediators have told top Biden administration officials on the ground in the Middle East that they expect Hamas will submit its formal response to the latest hostage and cease-fire offer on the table in the coming days, according to a U.S. official.

The official, who was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity, said ongoing talks in Doha and Cairo have been constructive, but that Hamas has still not delivered its formal response to a three-phase deal that President Joe Biden outlined last week.

Biden this week dispatched CIA Director Bill Burns to Doha to meet with Qatar’s prime minister about the ongoing negotiations, and his top Middle East adviser, Brett McGurk, to Cairo to meet with Egyptian officials for discussions on the hostage negotiations as well as Israel’s ongoing offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

Hamas has said it viewed the offer “positively” and called on Israel to declare an explicit commitment to an agreement that includes a permanent cease-fire, a complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, a prisoner exchange and other conditions.

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Associated Press writer Aamer Madhani contributed.

U.S. SAYS IT'S SEEKING TRANSPARENCY FROM ISRAEL ON DEADLY SCHOOL STRIKE

WASHINGTON — The United States is pressing Israel to be transparent about what led to a strike on a school-turned-shelter in central Gaza that killed at least 33 people, the U.S. State Department says.

At a briefing Thursday, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Israel is obligated to do everything possible to minimize civilian harm, but reports of the deaths of several children show that “the results aren’t where they need to be.”

Witnesses and hospital officials say the predawn strike hit a school filled with displaced Palestinians who had fled Israeli bombardments in northern Gaza. Local health officials say 23 women and children were among those killed.

Miller said it goes back to “this question of intent and results.” If Israel has said it was trying to use a precision strike to target 20 to 30 militants, but children die, “that shows that something went wrong.”

He deferred to Israel when asked if a U.S. weapon was used. He says Israel told the U.S. that it would release the names of the militants that were killed, but he didn’t know if an official review was underway. He says the U.S. wants details about the civilian deaths but didn’t know for sure if that information would be released by Israel.

The Israeli army says it follows international law and blames civilian deaths on Hamas, saying militants operate among the population. The Geneva Conventions say civilians must not be targeted deliberately or indiscriminately, and military operations must be proportionate.

ISRAELI FORCES KILL 3 PALESTINIANS IN WEST BANK, HEALTH MINISTRY SAYS

JERUSALEM — The Palestinian Health Ministry says three Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli military said forces carrying out an arrest raid in the northern West Bank city of Jenin on Thursday opened fire at three individuals who had thrown explosives at them and that a helicopter struck the area. It said the forces also arrested a suspected militant.

Violence has surged in the Israeli-occupied West Bank since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack triggered the war in Gaza. Israel has carried out frequent arrest raids that often ignite gunbattles. Settler violence and Palestinian attacks on Israelis have also been on the rise.

The Health Ministry, part of the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, says around 530 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since the start of the Gaza war.

Israel captured the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians want all three territories for their future state.

The 3 million Palestinians in the West Bank live under seemingly open-ended Israeli military rule, while the more than 500,000 Jewish settlers in the territory have Israeli citizenship.

MORE THAN A DOZEN COUNTRIES JOIN U.S. IN STATEMENT SUPPORTING BIDEN'S GAZA PLAN

WASHINGTON — More than a dozen countries joined the U.S. in a statement Thursday to show support for U.S. President Joe Biden’s proposed deal to release the remaining hostages in Gaza and end the grinding Mideast war.

The statement was signed by the leaders of Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Thailand and the United Kingdom as well as the United States.

“As leaders of countries deeply concerned for the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, including many of our own citizens, we fully support the movement towards a ceasefire and hostage release deal now on the table and as outlined by President Biden on May 31, 2024," the statement said. "There is no time to lose.”

The United States has thrown its weight behind the phased cease-fire and hostage release outlined by Biden last week. But Israel says it won’t end the war without destroying Hamas, while the militant group is demanding a lasting cease-fire and the full withdrawal of Israeli forces.

Far-right members of Netanyahu’s government have threatened to bring down the coalition if he signs onto a cease-fire deal.

ISRAEL SAYS GAZA MILITANTS LAUNCHED AN ATTACK FROM A TUNNEL NEAR BORDER, KILLING 1 SOLDIER

JERUSALEM — The Israeli military says Palestinian militants emerged from a tunnel and attacked its forces inside Gaza some 300 meters (yards) from the border with Israel, killing one of the soldiers.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the top Israeli military spokesman, confirmed the soldier’s death in Thursday’s predawn gunbattle at a press conference later in the day.

Another military spokesman had earlier said that three militants who took part in the attack were killed in Israeli strikes.

The battle took place in southern Gaza in a heavily-guarded area along the border.

Satellite photos earlier this year showed extensive demolition inside Gaza along the border. Israel appears to have established a buffer zone despite international objections.

The United States, which has provided key military aid for Israel’s nearly eight-month offensive, has said Gaza’s territory should not shrink. Israel says it needs a buffer zone to prevent Hamas from carrying out another attack into southern Israel like the one on Oct. 7 that ignited the war.

ISRAEL'S REPRESENTATIVE RESIGNS FROM ICJ JUDGE PANEL OVERSEEING GENOCIDE CASE

JERUSALEM — Israel’s representative on the panel of judges hearing the genocide case against Israel at the world’s top court resigned from his post, citing personal reasons, according to a letter he sent to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen by The Associated Press on Thursday.

Justice Aharon Barak, a former attorney general and peace negotiator who served as chief justice of Israel’s highest court from 1995 to 2006, wrote Tuesday to Netanyahu, telling him that he had sent the president of the International Court of Justice a resignation letter.

“My resignation is for personal and family reasons,” he wrote to Netanyahu. “Thank you for the trust placed in me.”

Barak was one of four justices on the court who said the ICJ’s ruling that Israel cease operations in Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city, did not mean Israel needed to stop operations there entirely. He said Israel could still operate in Gaza but needed to avoid causing undue harm to Palestinian civilians and contravening Israel’s obligations under the Genocide Convention.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog, whose position is largely ceremonial, thanked Barak on Thursday for serving on the court in a statement posted to X, adding: “We will continue to stand firm against the evil, the hypocrisy and the false accusations leveled against the State of Israel and the IDF,” using an acronym for Israel’s military.

RECENT DRONE STRIKE IN NORTHERN ISRAEL KILLED A RESERVE SOLDIER, MILITARY SAYS

JERUSALEM — Israel’s military said Thursday that a drone strike on a village in northern Israel the day before killed an Israeli reserve soldier.

The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah said it launched an attack toward a gathering of military officials in response to an earlier Israeli cross-border attack.

Israel’s military said two explosive drones were fired toward Hurfeish, a northern village in Israel.

Air raid sirens did not go off ahead of the strike, and Israeli authorities said that the strike wounded over 10 people in addition to the one soldier killed. The military identified the fallen soldier as Staff Sgt. (res.) Refael Kauders, 39.

With Kaunders’ death, 16 soldiers have been killed in Israel’s north since October, along with 10 civilians.

More 400 people have been killed in Lebanon, including more than 70 civilians and noncombatants.

Israel and Hezbollah have been exchanging fire daily since a day after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, which set off the war in Gaza. The deadly fighting has displaced tens of thousands of people on both sides of the Israel-Lebanon border and sparked fears of a wider regional war.

ISRAELI MILITARY SAYS IT'S NOT AWARE OF ANY CIVILIAN CASUALTIES IN ITS STRIKE ON A SCHOOL

JERUSALEM — Israel’s military said Thursday it was not aware of any civilian casualties in a strike that killed at least 33 Palestinians, including 23 women and children, according to local officials and an AP reporter at the hospital that received the bodies.

The strike occurred early Thursday on a United Nations school sheltering displaced Palestinians in central Gaza. Israeli military spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said intelligence indicated that militants had used the school compound to orchestrate some of the attacks on Oct. 7 and that at least 20 militants there were using it currently as a “staging realm” to launch attacks on Israeli soldiers.

“I’m not aware of civilians being caught up in this. We will be looking at the data and intelligence that comes out in the next few hours or day,” Lerner told journalists.

He declined to say whether the military would investigate the strike, as it did in May when an Israeli strike nearby a tent camp sheltering displaced people killed dozens in Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city.

SPAIN APPLIES TO JOIN SOUTH AFRICA'S CASE ACCUSING ISRAEL OF GENOCIDE

MADRID — Spain will ask a United Nations court for permission to join South Africa’s case accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza, its foreign minister announced Thursday.

Spain is the first European country to take the step after South Africa filed its case with the International Court of Justice in late 2023. It alleged that Israel was breaching the genocide convention in its military assault that has laid waste to large swaths of Gaza.

Mexico, Colombia, Nicaragua, Libya and the Palestinians have already requested to join the case currently being heard at the court in The Hague, Netherlands.

The court has ordered Israel to immediately halt its military offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah but stopped short of ordering a cease-fire for the enclave. Israel has not complied.

Spain’s request to join the case is the latest move by the government of Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to support peacemaking efforts in Gaza.

Israel denies it is committing genocide in its military operation to crush Hamas triggered by its deadly Oct. 7 attacks in southern Israel.

Hamas killed 1,200 people and took 250 more hostage in the surprise attacks. Israel’s air and land attacks have killed 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between combatants and civilians.

ISRAELI STRIKE KILLS DOZENS AT A SCHOOL-TURNED-SHELTER IN GAZA

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip — An Israeli strike early Thursday on a school-turned-shelter in central Gaza that the military claimed was being used as a Hamas compound killed at least 30 people, including five children, according to local health officials.

The strike came after the military said it was launching new air and ground operations in central Gaza in an apparent widening of its nearly eight-month offensive, launched after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. An international medical charity had reported soaring casualties even before Thursday’s strike.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah received at least 30 bodies from the strike on the school run by the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees — known by the acronym UNRWA — and another six from a separate strike on a home, according to hospital records and an Associated Press reporter at the hospital. Hamas-run TV had earlier reported a higher toll.

The Israeli military claimed, without immediately offering evidence, that Hamas and the Islamic Jihad used the school as cover for their operations and that risk reduction steps were taken before the strike.

The war began with Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack inside Israel that killed at least 1,200 people with 250 others taken hostage. The Israeli military campaign in the Gaza Strip has killed at least 36,000 Palestinians, with hundreds of others killed in operations in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

YEMEN'S HOUTHI REBELS UNVEIL A NEW SOLID-FUEL MISSILE

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Yemen’s Houthi rebels have unveiled a new, solid-fuel missile in their arsenal that resembles aspects of one earlier displayed by Iran that Tehran described as flying at hypersonic speeds.

The rebels fired their new “Palestine” missile, complete with a warhead painted like a Palestinian keffiyeh checkered scarf, at the southern Gulf of Aqaba port of Eilat in Israel on Monday. The attack set off air raid sirens but caused no reported damage or injuries.

Footage released by the Houthis late Wednesday showed the Palestine being raised on what appeared to be a mobile launcher and rising quickly into the air with plumes of white smoke coming from its engine. White smoke is common with solid-fuel missiles.

Solid-fuel missiles can be set up and fired faster than those containing liquid fuel. That’s a key concern for the Houthis as their missile launch sites have been repeatedly targeted by U.S. and allied forces in recent months over the rebels’ attacks on shipping through the Red Sea corridor. One such strike hit the Houthis even before they were able to launch their missile.