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US-made weapons reappear in Israeli strike on Palestinian school, says report

A CNN report said US-made GBU-39 bombs were used again by Israel in attack on UN school in central Gaza
A member of the UN checks a UN-school housing displaced people that was hit during Israeli bombardment in Nuseirat, in central Gaza, on 6 June 2024.
A UN member checks a UN school housing displaced people that was hit during Israeli bombardment in Nuseirat, in central Gaza, on 6 June 2024 (Basher Taleb/AFP)

American munitions were used by Israel in an air strike on a school doubling as a shelter for displaced Palestinians in central Gaza, according to a CNN analysis on Thursday.

The news channel said it identified fragments of "at least two US-made GBU-39 small diameter bombs" at the scene, using a video taken of the wreckage.

The Israeli air strike on Thursday killed at least 40 people sheltering in the school run by the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (Unrwa) located in the Nuseirat refugee camp. Those killed included nine women and 14 children, and 74 others were wounded, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

The Israeli army claimed the school contained a Hamas compound and that its strike killed fighters involved in the 7 October attack on southern Israel.

People who were sheltering at the school rejected these claims, telling Middle East Eye that there were no armed people in the school.

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This is the second report just this past week of US weapons being used by Israel to kill Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

A CNN report last week found that the same type of bomb, the US-made GBU 39, was used by Israel in an Israeli strike on a refugee camp in Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza.

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That attack, which killed at least 45 people and injured over 200, sent shockwaves around the world and was met with widespread anger after videos surfaced of the strike's aftermath. One such scene showed charred bodies and a headless child killed in the strike.

The GBU-39 is a high-precision bomb “designed to attack strategically important point targets”.

Over the past several months, the rights group Amnesty International documented several cases in which Israeli forces used US-supplied weapons to kill Palestinian civilians in contravention of international humanitarian law.

The Biden administration tasked itself earlier this year to determine whether the weapons it supplied Israel with were being used by the country's military in violation of international law.

After releasing its final report on the matter last month, the administration said there were reasonable grounds to believe that Israel was using US-supplied arms in violation of international law. However, it ultimately said it could not make any concrete determinations, a conclusion that was heavily criticised by legal experts and rights groups.

Last month, US President Joe Biden paused a single transfer of 1,800 2,000-pound (907kg) bombs and 1,700 500-pound (227kg) bombs to Israel, with US officials citing its opposition to an Israeli invasion of Rafah.

Since then Israel has been leading a military offensive on Rafah, and on 15 May, Biden announced the US would send over $1bn in additional arms and ammunition to Israel.

The administration has repeatedly said that it is opposed to the deaths of Palestinian civilians but has yet to take significant action in response to Israel's conduct in the ongoing war on Gaza.

In several exchanges with reporters this week, US State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said that it was up to Hamas to end the suffering and deaths of innocent Palestinians in the war on Gaza by accepting a ceasefire. The remarks were criticised as leveraging collective punishment against the Palestinian group.

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