Al-Fakhoura School is one of 37 schools operated by UNRWA in Jabalia refugee camp. During Operation Cast Lead, it was used to shelter civilians. UNRWA had provided the Israeli army with the exact GPS coordinates of al-Fakhoura School. The school was also included on a list of 91 provisional shelters that was communicated to the Israeli military before the start of the offensive.
On 6 January 2009 at around 3:45pm, Israeli tanks shelled the perimeter of al-Fakhoura school. Shells landed on the road just outside the school. There were no fatalities inside the school, but 44 people, including 14 children, were killed in the immediate vicinity of the school; 16-year-old Ismail Hawila was one of them.
According to data gathered by DCI-Palestine, the following 14 children were killed in the shelling in close proximity to al-Fakhoura school:
- Nour Moe’in Shafiq Deeb (3)
- Mohammad Ahmad Shaqoura (8)
- Asil Moe’in Shafiq Deeb (9)
- Lina Abed al-Meni’m Nafez Hasan (10)
- Abdullah Shafiq Abdullah (11)
- Esam Samir Shafiq Deeb (13)
- Mostafa Moe’in Shfiq Deeb (13)
- Bashar Samir Moussa Naji (13)
- 'Ahed Iyad Quddas (14)
- Imad Mohammad Abu Askar (14)
- Ibrahim Ahmad Hasan Ma'rouf (14)
- Ismail Adnan Hasan Hawila (16)
- Mohammad Moe’in Shfiq Deeb (16)
- Bilal Hamza Ali Obaid (17)
The Israeli military alleged that Palestinian fighters had been firing mortars from the school and that the school was booby-trapped. A UN Board of Inquiry which was established to investigate incidents where deaths, injuries, and destruction of property occurred at UN facilities found that “there was no firing from within the school and no explosives within the school”. The Board could not establish with certainty whether there had been any firing from the vicinity of the school, but all four witness statements collected by DCI-Palestine indicate that the area was quiet, and that adults and children were going about their daily business.
During Operation Cast Lead, many children were killed as a result of Israeli military attacks targeting schools or alleged military objectives located in close proximity to schools. So far, DCI-Palestine has documented the killing of 32 children and maiming of at least six.
DCI-Palestine, 1 September 2009
Read the full report: "Operation Cast Lead: 16-year-old killed while playing nearby UNRWA school shelled by Israeli tanks"