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The US State Department has criticized an Israeli attack on a UN training center in Gaza housing thousands of displaced Palestinians, resulting in the deaths of twelve people.

“We deplore today’s attack on the UN’s training center in Khan Yunis,” spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters on Wednesday.

“Civilians must be protected and the protective nature of UN facilities must be respected,” Patel stressed.

The Director of UNRWA Affairs in Gaza, Thomas White, confirmed in a statement on Thursday that “twelve people have now been confirmed dead with over 75 injuries, 15 of whom are in a critical condition.”

Heavy fighting near the remaining hospitals in Khan Yunis, including Nasser and Al Amal has effectively encircled these facilities, leaving terrified staff, patients and displaced people trapped inside, White said.

Al Khair Hospital, he added, has shut down after patients, including women who had just undergone C-section surgeries, were evacuated in the middle of the night.

Denied Access to Reach Injured

He explained that fighting had intensified over the past few days in the area of the center which hosts “thousands of people.”

“Yesterday, the center was hit by two shells and caught fire,” White explained.

He said a number of missions to assess the situation were denied and by Wednesday evening the UN finally managed to reach the affected areas to treat trauma patients, bring medical supplies and evacuate injured patients to Rafah.

“The situation in Khan Yunis underscores a consistent failure to uphold the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law: distinction, proportionality and precautions in carrying out attacks. This is unacceptable and abhorrent and must stop,” the UN official stressed.

He said every measure must be taken to protect civilians.

“I remind all parties that protection of hospitals, clinics, medical personnel and UN premises is explicitly enshrined within international law.”

For his part, the US State Department spokesperson added that, “Humanitarian workers must be protected so that they can continue providing civilians with the life-saving humanitarian assistance that they need.”

Call for Halt to Weapons Transfer

Also on Wednesday, 16 leading humanitarian agencies made an open call to all UN member states, “to stop the fueling the crisis in Gaza and avert further humanitarian catastrophe and loss of civilian life.”

In a joint statement on Wednesday, the organizations including Oxfam, Amnesty International and Save the Children said, “We demand an immediate ceasefire and call on all states to halt the transfer of weapons that can be used to commit violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.”

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 25,700 Palestinians have been killed, and 63,730 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Palestinian and international estimates say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

Scores of Palestinians were killed an injured as Israel attacked a UN training center housing thousands of displaced people. (Photo: via Eye on Palestine)

Source: The Palestine Chronicle

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