Some half million Gaza children are making a delayed return to school after a devastating 50-day war with Israel that killed more than 2,100 Palestinians and damaged hundreds of school buildings.

Gaza Education Ministry official Ziad Thabet says Sunday's opening — delayed two weeks — involves 230,000 1st to 12th graders attending public schools, 200,000 going to United Nations-run schools and tens of thousands enrolled in private institutions.

Thabet says that unlike in previous years the first week of instruction in government schools will be given over to providing psychological counseling and recreational activities to help the children transition to learning.

He says 26 Gaza schools were destroyed during the war, and another 232 sustained damage.

The war between Israel and the Hamas militant group ruling Gaza ended Aug. 26.