GAZA: An Israeli air strike killed 10 people and wounded about 30 on Sunday in a UN-run school in Gaza as dozens died in Israeli shelling of the enclave.
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. At least 15 Palestinians who sought refuge in a UN-run school were killed last Wednesday, after Israeli artillery hit the building.
Israeli media, on the 27th day of the fighting, reported that most troops had pulled out of Gaza. Stopping short of calling the move a withdrawal, an Israeli military spokesman said residents from some evacuated Gaza neighbourhoods had been told they could return. “We are releasing troops from the front line but the mission is ongoing,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner.
In the town of Rafah, a missile from an Israeli aircraft struck the entrance to a school where Palestinians who had fled their homes were sheltering, witnesses and medics said. Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al Qidra said 10 people were killed and 30 wounded.
“It is simply intolerable that another school has come under fire while designated to provide shelter for civilians fleeing the hostilities,” UN Middle East Special Coordinator Robert Serry said. According to him, 3,000 displaced people were being sheltered at the school.
Israeli shelling killed at least 30 people in Gaza earlier on Sunday as well, pushing the death toll given by Palestinian officials to 1,775, most of them civilians.
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 demands Israel withdraw its troops and wants a lifting of Israeli and Egyptian blockades.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th,2014.