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Photos and video footage available from Rafah

Photos and video footage available from UNRWA shelters, mosque and school in Rafah

For Immediate Release

Photos showing UNRWA shelters & al-Fadila mosque & school available:

Footage showing UNRWA shelters & al-Fadila mosque & school available:

Media has permission to use all photos and footage. Both should be credited to the International Solidarity Movement.


Monday 12th January, 2009

Across the Gaza Strip, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is setting up emergency shelters in its schools. Despite two such shelters being cynically targeted by Israeli shelling in northern Gaza last week, many families still seek refuge in UNRWA schools simply because they have nowhere else to go. The massacre on 6th January at the Al Fakhoura School and a second school in the Jabaliya refugee camp north-east of Gaza City killed nearly 50 and injured dozens more.

Two UNRWA schools in Rafah, the 'A' and 'B' Boys Preparatory Schools close to Rafah city centre, have become temporary homes for nearly 2,000 people. These emergency shelters were set up as thousands of people in Rafah fled their homes following threats by the Israeli military to target entire neighbourhoods lying close to border strip with Egypt. The families in one of the schools were evacuated from communities near the defunct airport on the edge of Rafah city where Israeli ground forces have been basing themselves since invading the Gaza Strip on 3rd January. Members of ISM Gaza Strip visited the schools today and met UN staff and some of the families seeking refuge there, such as the Amsi family who have about 15 members of their extended family were living together in one classroom.

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They also visited the UNRWA warehouse in Rafah, where they spoke to the Area Operations Officer. He confirmed that the supplies currently getting in are not nearly enough to cope with the crisis. Approximately 200 tons of aid per day is being allowed in compared to the 2,000 tons usually brought in daily by the UNRWA. He explained that UN stocks were exhausted a while ago and that the only food people now have comes from this trickle of aid entering the strip. Anything that does get in is distributed immediately.

At approximately 3.00am on Sunday 11th January, Israeli F-16 fighter jets bombed the buildings of the Dar al-Fadila Association for Orphans, which included a school, a college, a computer centre and a mosque, on Taha Hussein Street in the Kherbat al-'Adas neighbourhood in the north-east of Rafah. Parts of the buildings were totally destroyed and others were structurally damaged. The school had been assisting about 500 children disadvantaged children. Nearly 20 mosques have now been destroyed or severely damaged by the Israeli military since 27th December. ISM Gaza Strip documented the devastation.

The Rafah Red Crescent ambulance station is now relocating from its base in the Tel Zorob neighbourhood close to the border with Egypt, to Kherbet Al Adas on the other side of the city centre. Tel Zorob is in the area now being targeted so a planned move to the new premises was brought forward ahead of time. Numerous ambulances have been attacked by the Israeli military during the ongoing war on the Gaza Strip and 13 paramedics have been killed.


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