On Oct. 12, United Nations (UN) spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said 11 UN staff and 30 students at UN schools had been killed in the Gaza strip.

“11 UNRWA staff and personnel have been killed since Saturday,” Dujarric said. The UNRWA is the UN agency for Palestinian refugees and Gaza schools. “30 UNRWA students have also been killed and another eight have been injured,” she added.

Among the dead were five teachers, a doctor, an engineer, a counselor, and three support staff. “UNRWA mourns this loss and is grieving with our colleagues and the families,” UNRWA deputy director Jennifer Austin said in a statement. “UN staff and civilians must be protected at all times during conflict. We call for the fighting to come to an end to spare more civilian lives lost.”

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More than 250,000 Gazans had fled as of Oct. 12, according to the UN. Many had crammed into schools run by UNRWA. According to another UN statement that day, 220,000 people were sheltering in 92 UNRWA schools and 340,000 Palestinians had been displaced.

Israel then ordered the evacuation of 1 million Gazans from the northern part of the strip ahead of their planned ground invasion, which has been delayed due to weather. The UN urged Israel to reconsider their planned attack.

On Oct 12, Israeli Air Force (IAF) chief of staff Brig. Gen. Omer Tishler said IAF would not target civilians in the Gaza Strip, but warned the strikes were no longer “surgical.”

“We do not act like the other side, we do not attack the civilian population. Behind every attack there is a target,” he said. “We act precisely and professionally but not surgically. I’m not talking about single, tens, or hundreds [of strikes]. We are talking about thousands of munitions.”

Israel cut off supplies of food, gas, electricity, and medicine into Gaza, and shut down the last remaining access point to Israel as airstrikes crashed along the border.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres demanded civilians be protected from the conflict. “About 220,000 Palestinians are now sheltering in 92 UNRWA facilities across Gaza,” he said, adding that UN premises, hospitals, clinics and schools must “never be targeted.”

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