Yet another attack near a school used as a U.N.-run shelter in Gaza led to new carnage as the conflict between Israel and Hamas raged unabated. Before these latest attacks on Sunday, which UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl identified as an Israeli strike, the health ministry had put the cumulative death toll in Gaza at 1,712.
An undetermined number of other people were killed and several others wounded Sunday in the shelling near the school in Rafah, in southern Gaza, the spokesman for the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said. “The dead and wounded in Rafah are still under the rubble and in the streets,” Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Ashraf el-Qedra said.
Thousands of Gaza residents had flocked to the shelter to escape weeks of violence — only to encounter more bloodshed. Witnesses said those killed or hurt were waiting in line for food supplies when a missile hit.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the latest incident “a moral outrage and a criminal act.” “The attack is yet another gross violation of international humanitarian law,” Ban’s office said in a written statement. “… This attack, along with other breaches of international law, must be swiftly investigated and those responsible held accountable.”
Chris Gunness, spokesman for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, tweeted that the school was sheltering almost 3,000 internally displaced people. “I can confirm a shelling incident has caused multiple deaths and injuries in the vicinity of a school,” Gunness told CNN’s “New Day” on Sunday morning.
At least two other U.N.-run schools-turned-shelter in Gaza have been pounded by violence in the past month.