Gaza Holocaust: 10 killed in I$raHell air strike on United Nations school in Rafah, Ban Ki-moon condemns ‘criminal act’

NOVANEWS

An Israeli air strike has killed 10 people and wounded about 30 in a school in southern Gaza in what the United Nations has described as a “moral outrage and a criminal act”.

Witnesses and medics in the town of Rafah said the missile struck the entrance to the UN-run school where Palestinians who had fled their homes were sheltering.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon called for those responsible for the “gross violation of international humanitarian law” to be held accountable, while the United States described the attack as “disgraceful”.

It was the second strike on a school in less than a week.

The Israeli military said it had “targeted three Islamic Jihad terrorists on board a motorcycle in the vicinity of an UNRWA school in Rafah” and added it was “reviewing the consequences of this strike”.

Islamic Jihad did not report any of its militants killed or injured in the incident. A Palestinian health official said all those wounded or killed were from inside the school.

“The Israeli Defence Forces have been repeatedly informed of the location of these sites,” Mr Ban’s spokesman said in a statement.

“This attack, along with other breaches of international law, must be swiftly investigated and those responsible held accountable. It is a moral outrage and a criminal act.

“The resurgence in fighting has only exacerbated the man-made humanitarian and health crisis wreaking havoc in Gaza. This madness must stop.”

The US urged Israel to do more to prevent civilian casualties, according to a statement by state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

“The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians,” she said.

Israel later announced that its military would hold fire in most of the Gaza Strip for seven hours on Monday to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid and for displaced Palestinians to return to their homes, but would fight back if attacked.

Amid Hamas accusations that Israel had misled the world about the alleged capture of an Israeli soldier, the officer, Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, was buried on Sunday after the military said it recovered remains and that he was killed in action.

Lt Goldin’s suspected abduction led to the collapse of a US and UN-brokered ceasefire on Friday.

Troop movements allow some Gaza residents to return

Israeli media reported that most Israeli troops had pulled out of Gaza on Sunday (local time), and Reuters television footage showed a column of Israeli tanks and dozens of infantrymen leaving the enclave.

An Israeli military spokesman stopped short of calling the move a withdrawal, but said residents from some evacuated Gaza neighbourhoods had been told by the army they could return. ”ACCORDING TO UN THIS IS NOT TRUE”

“The troops are in the midst of a redeployment to other parts of the border,” Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner said.

 

“Indeed we are releasing troops from the front line but the mission is ongoing,” he said. “Ground forces are operating. Air forces are operating.”

Robert Serry, UN Middle East special coordinator, said the school in Rafah had been sheltering 3,000 displaced persons and the strike caused multiple deaths and injuries.

“It is simply intolerable that another school has come under fire while designated to provide shelter for civilians fleeing the hostilities,” he said.

Last Wednesday, at least 15 Palestinians who sought refuge in a UN-run school in Jabalya refugee camp were killed during fighting, and the UN said Israeli artillery had apparently hit the building.

The Israeli military said gunmen had fired mortar bombs from near the school and it shot back in response.

Earlier on Sunday, Israeli shelling killed at least 30 people in Gaza, a day after prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue the military campaign in Gaza for as long as needed and with as much force as necessary.

Bodies are being kept in ice-cream refrigerators, in flower and vegetable coolers.

Ashraf Goma, Fatah faction leader

 

Mr Netanyahu says Gaza’s dominant Hamas faction bears ultimate responsibility for civilian casualties, accusing gunmen and rocket-launching squads of using residents in densely populated areas as “human shields”.

In Rafah, Fatah faction leader and local resident Ashraf Goma said locals were unable to deal with the casualties.

“Bodies of the wounded are bleeding in the streets and other corpses are laid on the road with no-one able to recover them,” he told Reuters.

“I saw a man on a donkey cart bringing seven bodies into the hospital. Bodies are being kept in ice-cream refrigerators, in flower and vegetable coolers.”

I$raHell discovers cache of mortar bombs

The Israeli army said that more than 55 rockets had been fired from Gaza at Israel on Sunday.

Shrapnel from a rocket shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome interceptor fell inside a playground in the Tel Aviv area but caused no injury, media reports said.

Israeli said its troops had discovered a cache of 150 mortar bombs in southern Gaza.

They had clashed with Palestinian fighters who emerged from a tunnel and with others preparing to launch an anti-tank missile from a house in the area, a military statement said.

 

Israel began its offensive against Gaza on July 8 following a surge of cross-border rocket salvoes by Hamas and other guerrillas.

The fighting on Sunday pushed the Gaza death toll given by Palestinian officials to 1,775, most of them civilians.

Israel has confirmed that 64 soldiers have died in combat, while Palestinian rockets have also killed three civilians in Israel.

In new truce moves, a delegation from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad group arrived in Cairo, but a quick breakthrough seemed unlikely in the absence of Israeli representatives.

After accusing Hamas of breaching Friday’s short-lived ceasefire, Israel said it would not send envoys as scheduled.

Israel says it wants Gaza demilitarised under any long-term arrangement.

Hamas, sworn to Israel’s destruction, demands Israel withdraw its troops and a lifting of Israeli and Egyptian blockades that have choked Gaza’s economy.

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