STORY: Israel targeted a Gaza school on Thursday that it said contained a Hamas compound.

Israel said it killed fighters involved in the Oct. 7 attack that sparked the eight-month war.

Gaza media said the strike killed at least 27 people seeking shelter at the United Nations school in Nuseirat in central Gaza.

Video obtained by Reuters showed bodies being carried away from the rubble.

Hamas-run media rejected Israel's claims that the school had hidden a command post of the militant group.

Israel's military said that before the strike by Israeli fighter jets, the military took steps to reduce the risk of harm to civilians.

Eyewitnesses said the attack took them by surprise.

"We were sleeping when we suddenly saw a rocket falling on us, on the second floor there were martyrs, and on the first there were injured. That's all we saw."

The attack came after Israel announced a new military campaign in central Gaza as it battles a group of fighters relying on hit-and-run insurgency tactics.

Israel has said there will be no halt to fighting during ceasefire talks.

On Wednesday, in an apparent blow to a truce proposal last week from U.S. President Joe Biden, the leader of Hamas said the group would demand a permanent end to the war in Gaza and Israeli withdrawal as part of a ceasefire plan.

Washington had said it was waiting to hear an answer from Hamas to what Biden described as an Israeli initiative.

Asked whether the remarks amounted to the group's reply to Biden, a senior Hamas official replied to a text message from Reuters with a "thumbs up" emoji.

Since a brief week-long truce in November, all attempts to arrange a ceasefire have failed.

Hamas insists on a permanent end to the conflict, while Israel says it is prepared to discuss only temporary pauses until the militant group is defeated.