The Los Angeles Times reports that many families in Gaza have fled their homes since the conflict began. In some cases, houses are seen as unsafe because of their location near security force installations. Some have sought sanctuary in public shelters or moved to the homes of relatives.
But even many purely civilian neighborhoods aren't safe because Gaza militants often fire rockets from such areas and Israel continues to bomb the homes of Hamas commanders and buildings and mosques it believes are used as weapons storehouses. As a result, almost every neighborhood in Gaza is littered with sites that Israel considers legitimate military targets.
Israel's army said that among those who died at the school were "members of the military wing of the Hamas terror organization" who had fired on Israeli forces, Bloomberg reports. Israel says that Hamas and other militants use such civilian centers to launch attacks in a cynical effort to create human shields.