Antonio Guterres
Antonio GuterresREUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday condemned Israel’s strike on an UNRWA school in Nuseirat in central Gaza, in which Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists who took part in the October 7 massacre were eliminated.

Hamas claimed that dozens of Gazans who were sheltering in the school after fleeing their homes were killed in the strike.

The IDF’s Arabic language spokesperson, Avichay Adraee, denied those claims and wrote on social media, "The classrooms that were attacked were a shelter for ISIS, Hamas and Jihad. This liar has been spreading lies since the beginning of the war, fabricating massacres and covering up ISIS-Hamas crimes from October 7 until today.”

“A large number of terrorists, including elite members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, including those who participated in the massacre on October 7, lived in the classrooms inside the school compound in Nuseirat," he added.

The IDF stressed, “Before the strike, a number of steps were taken to reduce the risk of harming uninvolved civilians during the strike, including conducting aerial surveillance, and additional intelligence information.”

Despite this, Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujarric claimed that 14 children were among those killed in the strike.

Guterres "underscores that UN premises are inviolable, including during armed conflict and must be protected by all parties at all times," Dujarric said, as quoted by CNN.

"The Secretary-General calls on all parties to respect and protect civilians, and ensure their essential needs are met, in accordance with international humanitarian law," Dujarric said. "He reiterates his calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held in Gaza."

IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari on Thursday evening revealed the identities of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists who were killed in the IAF strike on the UNRWA school in Nuseirat, noting the terrorists were planning more attacks against Israelis and that the strike “stopped a ticking time-bomb.”

Hagari also noted, “We delayed our strike twice, because we identified civilians in the area. We had aerial surveillance that had been monitoring the Hamas compound for a few days. We conducted the strike once our intelligence and surveillance indicated that there were no women or children inside the Hamas compound, inside those classrooms. Despite the complex operational conditions, our Air Force used precise munitions to target the three specific classrooms that the terrorists were hiding inside."

"Sadly, we saw some media outlets fall for Hamas’s tactics yet again, before checking the facts. While Hamas abuses international law, the IDF will continue operating according to international law. The systematic abuse of UN facilities is a war crime and it must be stopped by the world,” he added.

Guterres has not stopped short of criticizing Israel since the start of the war in Gaza. In late October, the UN chief said that Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7 “did not happen in a vacuum” and appeared to blame Israel for the attack.

After his remarks were widely condemned, the UN chief claimed his comments were misinterpreted and that he had indeed condemned Hamas.

Later, he mentioned the sexual crimes committed by Hamas in its October 7 attack in Israel in the same breath as “reports of sexual violence against Palestinian detainees”.

More recently, Guterres appeared to equate between Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel and the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

In a post on social media, Guterres wrote, “Nothing can justify the 7 Oct terror attacks by Hamas” but then added, “Nothing can justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”

He then added, “It’s high time for a humanitarian ceasefire, the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages and unimpeded humanitarian access throughout Gaza.”