Dozens of Palestinian students and teachers Monday morning suffocated from tear gas canisters fired by Israeli forces around and inside several schools in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.
Local sources told WAFA that Israeli soldiers intensively fired sound and tear gas bombs in the vicinity of several schools and inside the school compounds as students were standing in queue during the morning assembly, causing dozens of students and teachers to suffocate from excessive tear gas inhalation and spreading panic among them.
All casualties received treatment at the scene.
The targeted schools were identified as Hebron Boys Elementary School, Khadija Bint Khuwaylid’s Girls Elementary School, Thou Nourain Boys School, al-Hajiriya Girls School and Tareq Bein Zeyad Boys School.
These schools are among nine Palestinian schools located in the H2 area of Hebron, which falls under Israel’s civil and military control and remains at the most risk of attacks. School children have to access military checkpoints in the H2 area to access their schools.
The area, which houses 32,000 Palestinians, is considered the most vulnerable to Israeli forces and settlers’ attacks which are regular enough to create a constant climate of fear and terror for students and their teachers, generating among them great psychological distress and anxiety and severely reducing levels of educational attainment.
Attacks on education by Israeli military forces and Israeli settlers in Palestine constitute grave violations of children’s rights to education and development. These attacks are particularly prevalent in the most vulnerable areas of the West Bank – Area C, H2 and Jerusalem.
The city of Hebron, which houses the Ibrahimi Mosque, is home to roughly 160,000 Palestinian Muslims and about 800 Israeli settlers who live in compounds heavily guarded by Israeli troops.
Israel has expelled the only international monitors protecting Hebron’s Palestinians from 800 heavily guarded settlers, one of whom committed the 1994 massacre that triggered their deployment.