Middle East

US-made munitions used in deadly Israeli strike on school complex near Khan Younis, CNN analysis finds

By Gianluca Mezzofiore, Avery Schmitz and Allegra Goodwin, CNN

CNN  — 

Israeli forces used US-made munitions in a deadly strike on a school complex that was housing displaced people near Khan Younis in southern Gaza, according to a CNN analysis of video from the scene.

At least 27 people have been killed and 53 have been injured in the strike, which hit the gate of the Al-Mutanabbi school complex, also known locally as the Al-Awda Schools, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.

In a video filmed at the scene by a journalist working for CNN in the aftermath of the strike, a remnant of a US-made GBU-39 small-diameter bomb (SDB) is clearly visible.

The remnant is the tail section of the munition, according to three explosive weapons experts who reviewed the video for CNN.

“Based on the characteristic shape of the fin, the screw housings, as well as the overall shape of the munition fragment… this remnant is consistent with a GBU-39-series tail actuation system located in the rear of the munition,” Patrick Senft, a research coordinator at Armament Research Services (ARES), told CNN.

Trevor Ball, a former US Army explosive ordnance disposal technician, also told CNN the remnants were of a tail actuation section of an SDB/GBU-39.

“Part of the section is missing, showing a cutaway of the internals,” Ball tweeted.

Israel said it was targeting a Hamas operative in the strike. In a statement Tuesday, the Israeli military said: “Earlier this evening, using precise munition, the [Israeli air force] struck a terrorist from Hamas’ military wing who took part, among other terrorist activities, in the October 7 brutal massacre.” CNN has asked the IDF about the use of US-made munitions used in the Khan Younis strike.

CNN identified remnants of GBU-39 small-diameter bombs in another two Israeli strikes in the past few months.

The GBU-39, which is manufactured by Boeing, is a high-precision munition “designed to attack strategically important point targets” and result in low collateral damage, explosive weapons expert Chris Cobb-Smith told CNN following the first strike on Rafah tent camp, which took place on May 26.

“Using any munition, even of this size, will always incur risks in a densely populated area,” said Cobb-Smith, who is also a former British Army artillery officer.

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