An Israeli attack on a United Nations school that was sheltering people fleeing the violence in Gaza has been condemned by both the UN and the US. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has called the bombing “a moral outrage and a criminal act.”
Moon said it was “yet another gross violation of international humanitarian law, which clearly requires protection by both parties of Palestinian civilians, UN staff and UN premises, among other civilian facilities.” He also added that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) had been “repeatedly informed of the location of these sites.”
The US State Department issued a statement calling the attack “disgraceful.”
“The United States is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency] school in Rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced person in which ten more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed … We once again stress that Israel do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties … The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians.”
This attack marks the seventh time a UN shelter has been bombed in just under a month. Of the 10 killed, four were children between the ages of five and 12.
A spokesman for the Israeli military said that the inquiries into the incident showed that its forces were “targeting a number of terrorists on a motorbike near the school, and we did identify a successful hit on a motorbike. We do not target schools. We certainly do not target civilians.”
More than 1,800 Palestinians, about 80 percent of whom were civilians, have been killed so far in Gaza since the conflict began on June 8. The UN has reported that the medical services in Gaza are overwhelmed, with a third of hospitals, 14 clinics, and 29 ambulances damaged during the fighting.
Israel has reported around 67 deaths total, with just three civilians killed.
The European Union and the European commission presidents have also called on Israel and Hamas to “immediately stop” the fighting and has condemned the loss of life.
“The blood shed needs to stop. We deplore the terrible loss of lives, including women innocent women and children,” saying that residents of Gaza were suffering “intolerable violence” and called the rocket fire by Hamas “an unacceptable threat” to Israeli citizens.