Israel-Hamas war: Dozens killed in Israeli airstrike outside school in Gaza

Dozens of people have been killed in an Israeli airstrike on a school-turned-shelter in southern Gaza.

The strike at the entrance to the school hit the tents of displaced families in the town of Abassan, east of Khan Younis, with most of the victims being women and children, according to Palestinian medical officials.

The Israeli military said the incident occurred when it struck a Hamas fighter who took part in the 7 October raid on Israel with a "precise munition". It said it was reviewing reports civilians were harmed.

The strike killed at least 25 people, according to an Associated Press reporter who counted the bodies at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis.

Health officials in the Hamas-run strip say at least 29 people were killed.

The attack happened as displaced people had gathered to watch a football match, eyewitnesses said.

"They were watching a football match. There were injuries and martyrs. I witnessed this... people thrown around
and body parts scattered, blood," one young woman, Ghazzal Nasser, told Reuters.

"Everything was normal. People were playing, others were buying and selling [food and drinks]. There was no sound of
planes or anything."

Meanwhile, advancing tanks in Gaza City have forced thousands to flee for increasingly vanishing refuge.

Israel's new ground assault in Gaza's largest city represents its latest effort to battle Hamas militants it says are regrouping in areas the army previously said had been largely cleared.

Large parts of the city have been destroyed after nine months of fighting and much of the population had fled earlier in the war, but several hundred thousand Palestinians remain in the north of the besieged enclave.

After Israel called for an evacuation of eastern and central parts of Gaza City on Monday, staff at two hospitals rushed to move patients and shut down, the United Nations said.

'More than 5%' of Gaza's population killed or injured

Israel's campaign in Gaza, sparked by Hamas' attack on 7 October, has killed or wounded more than 5% of Gaza's 2.3 million Palestinians, according to the territory's Hamas-run health ministry.

Nearly the entire population has been displaced from their homes, many multiple times, and hundreds of thousands have sought refuge in packed tent camps.

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'Dangerously chaotic' exodus

The UN humanitarian office said the exodus in Gaza City was "dangerously chaotic," with people instructed to flee through neighbourhoods where fighting was under way.

"People have been observed fleeing in multiple directions, not knowing which way may be safest," the agency said in a statement.

Nine months of war and displacement have caused a hunger crisis and the recent deaths of several more children from malnutrition in Gaza indicate famine has spread throughout the enclave, according to a group of independent human rights experts mandated by the United Nations.

"We declare that Israel's intentional and targeted starvation campaign against the Palestinian people is a form of genocidal violence and has resulted in famine across all of Gaza," they said.

"We call upon the international community to prioritise the delivery of humanitarian aid by land by any means necessary, end Israel's siege, and establish a ceasefire."

Israel has previously said it has worked to allow more aid into the region.

Threat to ceasefire negotiations

Hamas has warned the latest Israeli raids in Gaza City could lead to the collapse of negotiations for a ceasefire and hostage-release deal.

The two sides had appeared to narrow the gaps in negotiations in recent days - which are being mediated by the US, Egypt and Qatar.

The war broke out when militants led by Hamas stormed into Israel on 7 October, killing 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostages back to Gaza.

Over 38,200 Palestinians have been killed and more than 88,000 wounded in the nine-month-long Israeli military offensive that followed, according to Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry. It does not differentiate between civilians and combatants in its count.