A new CNN analysis has revealed that Israel struck some areas it directed civilians to during its recent bombardment of Gaza.
The analysis, conducted over the last week, shows that Israeli airstrikes hit certain sites where civilians had been instructed to seek shelter during the 12-day bombardment of the Palestinian enclave.
CNN reviewed airstrike data from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), with coordinates taken from the May 17-20 period of escalation. OCHA confirmed to CNN that these coordinates were taken from air strikes within Gaza.
According to the analysis, Israeli airstrikes hit locations between May 14-20 that had been listed as possible civilian shelters by both Israel and the United Nations. This includes a school in the city of Rafah that was determined by the UN to not be connected with militant or other military activity.
Real-time military operations are often complex and fluid, and determining whether a particular site was targeted intentionally is difficult. However, that further evidence must be taken before a final determination on whether the strikes were unlawful can be made.
The strikes that hit sites instructed to be civilian shelters come as part of a surge in airstrikes and rocket attacks amid heightened tension between Israel and the militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza.
The fighting has left hundreds of people, mostly Palestinians, dead or injured. There are now efforts underway to end the violence, with the Biden Administration recently announcing an agreement that would halt the hostilities.
The CNN analysis underscores the precarious position that civilians currently find themselves in during times of conflict. It also highlights why the UN and other international bodies must remain vigilant when it comes to addressing the protection of civilians in armed conflict.