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1.085m Palestinian Children Attend School

1.085 Million Children Attend School Today as Israel Escalates Aggression

Some one million Palestinian students across the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip attended school today in the first day of the academic year, while more than 75,000 children attended kindergartens.

This comes two days after an 8-year-old Palestinian girl was shot dead by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) stationed at a nearby illegal Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip.

On Sunday, thousands of tearful children took to the streets to take part in the funeral of Aya Fayyad, who was to attend the fourth grade this day.

Fayyad was killed when Israel gunfire hit her in the heart while at home in the Gaza Strip’s Austrian District, west of Khan Younis.

Palestinian students were weary of beginning their first academic year amidst IOF incursions into several West Bank towns including Qalqilia and al-Yamoun in the north and as Israel heightened its threats to besiege the Ramallah compound of President Yasser Arafat and to invade the Gaza Strip.

The Palestine National Authority (PNA) Minister of Education said “the first academic year begins amidst difficult, complex circumstances for students, parents and the educational system, especially after the killing of the student Aya Fayyad in the city of Khan Younis.”

In a press conference at the Ministry’s headquarters in Ramallah, Dr. Naim Abu Humous stressed that he expects this year to be a “difficult one for Palestinians because of the continuous oppressive Israel measures.”

Moreover, Abu Humous reiterated his rejection of Israel’s insistence on turning schools into military barracks, and slammed this measure as a clear violation of international law and conventions.

IOF soldiers continue to use Palestinian schools as military bases and turn others into detention centers most notably in the southern West Bank city of Hebron where Israel troops are still tightening their grip on three local schools after forbidding students from attending them for the third consecutive year.

Meanwhile, IOF troops shelled residential areas in the West Bank city of Qalqilia and the town of al-Yamoun after slapping a curfew on residents, injuring two citizens, one of whom is in critical condition, medics said.

Also in Nablus in the north, clashes erupted between Palestinian youths and Israeli occupation troops. Medical sources said Yousef Hanoun was shot in the head during clashes and that he was in critical condition.

IOF are still imposing a curfew on Balata refugee camp near Nablus for the third consecutive day.

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