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Gaza schools reopen after one-month suspension

IN the aftermath of the 22-day Israeli military offensive on Gaza Strip, which unilaterally ended a week ago, schools run by the Hamas-ruled Ministry of Education and the UN were back to work yesterday.

Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire last week following a three-week air and ground offensive on the enclave, killing and wounding thousands of people. Thousands of homes, mosques and schools were also destroyed by Israeli missiles, bombs and shells, leaving tens of thousands of people homeless.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna has earlier said that some 36 schools that his humanitarian organization runs were opened to shelter around 40,000 people, who had their homes being destroyed or evacuated during the war.

Gaza education officials estimated that 250,000 pupils went back to their classrooms in 384 schools spread all over the enclave, amid a status of sadness, shock and despair. According to official reports, Israel has also destroyed 35 UNRWA and governmental schools.

Dona Matta, a 16-year-old Gaza Christian pupil who studied at Gaza City's Holy Family School said she was "completely shocked" when she went back to school this morning.

"I discovered that my classmate Christine al-Torok was killed during the war," Matta said, adding "It's nice to get back to school after all what happened. I'm happy to be back, but I'm very sad at the same time to see that Christine's vacant."


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