Israeli aircraft struck terrorists operating from United Nations schools in the area of Gaza City on Thursday, the Israel Defence Forces said.

Hamas squads were using the “Alqahirah School” and the “Musa School” in Gaza City’s Al-Furqan and Daraj Tuffah neighbourhoods, respectively. The army said Hamas operatives used the schools to plan, direct and carry out numerous attacks against troops.

Both schools are run by the UN Relief and Works Agency, which supports Palestinian refugees.

“The Hamas terrorist organization systematically violated international law, exploiting civilian structures and populations as human shields for its terror attacks against the State of Israel,” the army said.

The IDF added that it conducted aerial surveillance ahead of the strike and used precise munitions to mitigate the risk to uninvolved civilians.

UNRWA has been under fire for months, with Israeli officials demanding the agency be stripped of its authority in Gaza and defunded amid revelations that members of the agency’s staff participated in Hamas’s October 7 attacks. The Israeli government is bypassing UNRWA in distributing humanitarian aid.

On May 30, the Knesset approved the first reading of legislation authorizing the Foreign Ministry to designate UNRWA as a terror organization and strip it of its diplomatic immunity, tax-exempt status, and other legal benefits. On the same day, the Israel Lands Authority ordered UNRWA to vacate its Jerusalem offices over violations of its lease.

Israel’s largest bank froze UNRWA’s account in February over suspicious financial transfers that the agency failed to adequately explain. That same month, Israeli forces discovered a Hamas complex located directly under the UNRWA’s Gaza City headquarters and connected directly to the agency’s electricity system. The facility included numerous computer servers belonging to the terror group.

Palestinian refugees are the only refugee population with its own dedicated UN agency. The rest of the world’s refugees fall under the mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Israeli officials have called for UNRWA to be closed and for Palestinian refugees to be brought under the responsibility of the UNHCR.

At least 1,200 people were killed, and 252 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Of the 116 remaining hostages, more than 30 are believed dead.