Israel admits to shelling UN school in Gaza

Israel admits to shelling UN school in Gaza
Mon Jul 28, 2014 12:57:07

The Israeli regime has finally admitted to striking a UN school in Gaza last week, but denies reports that anyone was killed in the incident, claiming the courtyard area was empty when the strike took place.

 

Palestinian women and children mourn the loss of their loved ones during the Israeli onslaught on Gaza

Zionist army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner further claimed on Sunday that the shell striking the school was not fired intentionally.

“A single errant mortar [round] landed in the courtyard of the school,” he told journalists during a briefing. “The courtyard was completely empty” at the time of the incident, he said, referring to what he claimed as the aerial footage of the compound.

The Zionist official further claimed that Israeli forces were responding to Palestinian mortar and anti-tank fire “in the vicinity” of the school at invading Israeli troops.

Palestinian officials, however, said that the Israeli shelling of the UN compound killed 16 people and injured nearly 200 others, as three Israeli tank shells hit the Ashraf al-Qidra school in the town of Beit Hanoun last Thursday.

Women, children, and UN staff were reportedly among those killed during the Israeli shelling.

Despite the widely published report and images of the school massacre, the Israeli military official said, “We reject the claims that were made by various officials immediately following the incident, that people were killed in the school premises as a result of [the Israeli army's] operational activity,” adding that is "extremely unlikely that anybody was killed as a result of this mortar.”

Meanwhile, the commander of Civil Defense in Gaza, Saed al-Saoudi, said on Sunday that “all the testimonies of the wounded, witnesses, paramedics and doctors confirm that the Israeli shells are the cause of this massacre.”

The school was being used at the time to shelter hundreds of Palestinians displaced by the conflict. UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) has called for a full investigation into the incident.

"It is important in a case like this where a UN school in which hundreds of people took refuge is hit in this way, that there should be full transparency and accountability," UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said.

Gunness added that the school was clearly marked as a UN shelter, and that the Israeli army had been made aware of its location.

Moreover, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed outrage and horror at the tragedy.

“Many have been killed – including women and children,” Ban said in a statement on Thursday.

“I am appalled by the news of an attack on an UNRWA school in Northern Gaza where hundreds of people had taken refuge,” he added.

The latest Zionist aggression against the besieged Gaza Strip began on July 8 and has so far killed over 1,050 Palestinian and injured nearly 6,000 more.

Rights group report that near 90 Percent of the victims in Gaza have been civilians, including many women and children.

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