During the latest ceasefire in the latest war between Israel and Hamas, more educational institutions have been able to take stock of the damage done.
University College of Applied Sciences, one of the main vocational education institutions in Gaza with about 9,000 students, released photographs and a statement today about the destruction of its facilities under Israeli bombardment. The photographs make it clear that the damage was not the result of a single errant missile but multiple strikes.
“Our college suffered greatly from the destruction and devastation,” said Mahmoud Hamid, administrative deputy, in the statement.
According to Hamid, the shelling appeared to directly target the college buildings. In a region where the mismatch between education and employment is often discussed, the college focuses on providing education that can give its graduates jobs.
The Israel Defense Forces confirmed it struck sites at the University College of Applied Sciences. The IDF said the college served as a lead center in rocket research and development for Hamas. Damage at one other university in Gaza appeared to be the result of an attack on a nearby satellite facility and a strike on the administration building at Islamic University was said by the Israelis to be an attack on a weapons development facility, the existence of which the university denied. (See related article.)
At the University College of Applied Sciences, Rifaat Rustam, the president, in an e-mail, denied Israeli accusations. “This is their permanent pretext for bombing educational institutions, hospitals, and houses of worship and even the power plant,” he said. “Their goal is clear for us: They want us to remain in the dark, which we resist.”
The University College of Applied Science’s central administrative building was destroyed, in addition to a large conference hall. Many of the classrooms were destroyed and the computer labs burned. The electrical and computer networks, water and air conditioning systems were completely disrupted. (More below photo gallery.)