Israel blows up last university in Gaza as air strikes continue – call for full academic boycott

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The University of Palestine in Gaza City
The University of Palestine in Gaza City . . . blown up by the Israeli military with 315 mines, destroying more than 3000 rare artefacts in a nearby national museum. Image: Dr Nicola Perugini

By Laura Pollock

Gaza’s last standing university has been destroyed by the Israeli army as military continued to strike targets in areas of the besieged territory where it has told civilians to seek refuge.

Al-Israa University — the University of Palestine — was blown up after Israeli soldiers occupied the campus and turned it into a base and military barracks over two months ago.

A video shared on social media showed the moment the educational institute was completely destroyed, along with more than 3000 rare artefacts in a national museum near the university campus.

It is understood that all four of Gaza’s universities as well as more than 350 schools and its public library have now been destroyed by Israeli strikes.

Dr Nicola Perugini, an associate professor at the University of Edinburgh, shared the video and said: “The Israeli military just blew up the University of Palestine in Gaza City with 315 mines.

“All the universities in Gaza have been damaged or destroyed. We need a full academic boycott.”

‘We need a full academic boycott’
Birzeit University, an institute in Palestine, reacted to the bombing: “Birzeit University reaffirms the fact that this crime is part of the Israeli occupation’s onslaught against the Palestinians. It’s all a part of the Israeli occupation’s goal to make Gaza uninhabitable; a continuation of the genocide being carried out in Gaza Strip.”

It comes as an Israeli airstrike on a home killed 16 people, half of them children, in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, medics said early on Thursday.

There was, meanwhile, no word on whether medicines that entered the territory Wednesday as part of a deal brokered by France and Qatar had been distributed to dozens of hostages with chronic illnesses who are being held by Hamas.

More than 100 days after Hamas triggered the war with its October 7 attack, Israel continues to wage one of the deadliest and most destructive military campaigns in recent history.

More than 24,000 Palestinians have been killed, some 85 percent of the narrow coastal territory’s 2.3 million people have fled their homes, and the United Nations says a quarter of the population is starving.

Hundreds of thousands have heeded Israeli evacuation orders and packed into southern Gaza, where shelters run by the United Nations are overflowing and massive tent camps have gone up.

But Israel has continued to strike what it says are militant targets in all parts of Gaza, often killing women and children.

Dozens more wounded
Dr Talat Barhoum, at Rafah’s el-Najjar Hospital, confirmed the death toll from the strike in Rafah and said dozens more were wounded.

Associated Press footage from the hospital showed relatives weeping over the bodies of loved ones.

“They were suffering from hunger, they were dying from hunger, and now they have also been hit,” said Mahmoud Qassim, a relative of some of those who were killed.

Internet and mobile services in Gaza have been down for five days, the longest of several outages during the war, according to internet access advocacy group NetBlocks.

The outages complicate rescue efforts and make it difficult to obtain information about the latest strikes and casualties.

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