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Jet strikes UN school with refugees A MORAL OUTRAGE...A CRIMINAL ACT: BAN

GAZA/JERUSALEM, Aug 3, (Agencies): An Israeli air strike killed 10 people and wounded about 30 on Sunday in a UN-run school in the southern Gaza Strip, a Palestinian official said, as dozens died in Israeli shelling of the enclave and Hamas fired rockets at Israel. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the attack as a “moral outrage and a criminal act” and called for those responsible for the “gross violation of international humanitarian law” to be held accountable.

The Israeli military said it was looking into the attack, the second to hit a school in less than a week. And 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. Goldin’s suspected abduction led to the collapse of a USand UN-brokered ceasefire on Friday. In Cairo, efforts to find a new truce were due to resume on Sunday. Israeli media, on the 27th day of the fighting, reported that most Israeli troops had pulled out of Gaza, and Reuters TV 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. “The troops are in the midst of a redeployment to other parts of the border,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner. “Indeed we are releasing troops from the front line but the mission is ongoing. Ground forces are operating. Air forces are operating.” In the town of Rafah, where the military has been battling militants, a missile from an Israeli aircraft struck the entrance to the school, where Palestinians who had fled their homes were sheltering, witnesses and medics said. Ashraf Al-Qidra, spokesman for the Gaza health ministry, said 10 people were killed and 30 wounded. Robert Serry, UN Middle East Special Coordinator, said the school 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 UNrun 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 keep up pressure on Hamas even after the army completes its core mission of destroying a tunnel network used by Palestinian militants to attack Israel. 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.

Bodies
“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,” Goma told Reuters. The bodies of the Al Ghoul family, killed early Sunday morning, were lined up on the floor of the Kuwaiti hospital in Rafah. Doctors wiped dried blood from the faces of three men. Outside the hospital, men and children shed tears while sobbing women cradled the smallest of the dead, kissing their faces. In another hospital room at the hospital, at least four children were piled into an ice cream freezer, all wrapped in white cloth drenched in blood.

Doctors say that morgues in Rafah are at maximum capacity. The Israeli army said that more than 55 rockets had been fired from Gaza at Israel on Sunday. Israeli troops had discovered a cache of 150 mortar bombs in the southern Gaza Strip. They had clashed with Palestinian fighters who emerged from a tunnel and with others preparing to launch an antitank 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.

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