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450 Palestinian schoolchildren killed by Israel ahead of high school exams: Education Ministry

June 22, 2024 at 4:26 pm

Palestinians, including children, recieve medical treatment at Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital after getting severely injured in an Israeli attack on Al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, Gaza on June 22, 2024. [Hamza Z. H. Qraiqea – Anadolu Agency]

Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank since Oct. 7 have killed a total of 450 schoolchildren who would have enrolled in high school this year, the Palestinian Education Ministry said on Saturday, Anadolu Agency reports.

Ministry spokesman Sadiq al-Khadour told Anadolu that Palestinian high school exams that began Saturday in the occupied West Bank under challenging circumstances were not being held in the Gaza Strip, Anadolu Agency reports.

He highlighted that 450 students “who were preparing to enroll in high school were killed by the Israeli army, including 430 students in the Gaza Strip and 20 in the West Bank.”

While 50,000 students in the West Bank took the high school exams, 39,000 in the Gaza Strip were unable to do so due to the ongoing Israeli offensive, said al-Khadour.

During a visit to the southern Hebron region to inspect the high school exams being held there, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa highlighted the significance of this year’s exams.

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He said the exams send “a message that education is our primary weapon in confronting the occupation and achieving independence. Our commitment to education is a lifeline through which we can overcome all challenges.”

“The occupation has prevented 39,000 students from taking their high school exams due to ongoing aggression against the Gaza Strip,” added Mustafa.

As of June 17, the Israeli war has resulted in the complete destruction of 110 schools and universities and partial damage to 321 others. According to the government media office in Gaza, the war has also claimed the lives of over 10,000 students.

Flouting a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire, Israel has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas.

More than 37,500 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children, and more than 85,900 others injured, according to local health authorities.

More than eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lie in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in Rafah, where more than 1 million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

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