December 20, 2014
At least 10 killed on UN-run Gaza school as Israel renews shelling
An Israeli air strike killed at least 10 people and wounded about 30 others today 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.
The Israeli military said it was looking into the reported attack, the second to hit a school in less than a week.
Israeli media, on the 27th day of the fighting, reported that most Israeli troops had pulled out of Gaza. An Israeli military spokesman stopped short of calling the move a withdrawal, but said residents from a number of evacuated Palestinian 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.
Adnan Abu Hasna, spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency in Gaza, said: "It is believed that there was an air strike that hit outside the gate of an UNRWA school, a designated shelter for at least 3,000 displaced residents."
"There were multiple dead and injuries inside and outside the school, including an UNRWA staffer," 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 it appeared that Israeli artillery had 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 that extends into 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".