Strike on UN Gaza school kills 10 as Israel pulls out some troops
By Sakher Abu El Oun, AFP
August 4, 2014, 12:30 am TWN
GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories -- At least 10 people died in a fresh strike on a U.N. school in Gaza Sunday shortly after Israel confirmed it had begun withdrawing some troops from the war-torn enclave.
The strike on the school sheltering displaced Palestinians in the southern city of Rafah came as Israel pounded the region following the suspected capture of a soldier by militants, who was later declared dead.
It was the third time in 10 days that a U.N. school had been hit and came four days after Israeli tank shells slammed into a school in the northern town of Jabaliya, killing 16 in an attack furiously denounced by U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon as "reprehensible."
An AFP correspondent said there were scenes of chaos at the site, with rescuers trying to evacuate the wounded any way they could, while adults were seen sprinting frantically away through pools of blood, young children clutched in their arms.
Chris Gunness, spokesman for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), said the school had been housing thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs) who had been forced to flee their homes by the ongoing violence in Gaza.
'Multiple deaths and injury'
"Shelling incident in vicinity of UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering almost 3,000 IDP. Initial reports say multiple deaths and injury," he wrote on his Twitter feed.
Images of the carnage in Gaza, where medics say 1,766 Palestinians have been killed and another 9,320 wounded in the past 27 days, have shocked the public worldwide with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond demanding an unconditional ceasefire to resolve the "intolerable" situation for civilians trapped in Gaza."
"We have to get the killing to stop," Hammond told the Sunday Telegraph, saying many people were "deeply disturbed" by the civilian loss of life.
Intensive international attempts to broker a diplomatic end to the fighting between Israel and Hamas have so far proved fruitless but the efforts are continuing.
A Palestinian delegation was to hold truce talks Sunday in Cairo with senior U.S. and Egyptian officials, although Israel has said it sees no point in sending its negotiators to the meeting, citing what it says are Hamas breaches of previous agreed truces.
Islamic Jihad was also expected to join along with U.S. Middle East envoy Frank Lowenstein.