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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 24 September, 2014

UN agency claims it asked Israel for time to evacuate bombed school

Israel claims that the strike which killed 15 people may have come from Hamas.

Mideast Israel Palestinians

Palestinian children, wounded in an Israeli strike on a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, are treated as they lay on the floor at the emergency room of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya

Source: AP/Press Association Images

“We were never granted that window. It is simply inaccurate [to say that the Israelis had offered a chance to leave].

THE UN RELIEF Works Agency (UNRWA) has said that it asked Israel for a window in which to evacuate people from a school that was bombed yesterday, killing 15 people.

It is believed that hundreds had sought refuge from the violence inside the building.

Israeli government spokesperson Mark Regev told the BBC that Israel had told people to evacuate the UN school in Beit Hanoun, but that has been denied by Robert Taylor of UNRWA on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“Over the course of yesterday, we had been asking for a time window to withdraw our staff and give the displaced who chose to leave an opportunity to move.

“We were never granted that window. It is simply inaccurate [to say that the Israelis had offered a chance to leave].

“To be clear, Israeli forces have told everyone to leave everywhere within 3km of the boundaries – that is 40% of all of Gaza’s area.”

Mideast Israel Palestinians

A Palestinian child, wounded in an Israeli strike on a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, is placed on a stretcher with an adult, in the northern Gaza Strip.

Source: AP/Press Association Images

Taylor said that an investigation was needed, but said that UNRWA schools had been hit four times in the last week.

“I certainly hope [the strikes aren't deliberately targeting schools].

“We have around 150,000 people sheltering in our schools. That’s more than 8% of the entire population of Gaza. They’re coming as a refuge of last resort.”

Mideast Israel Palestinians

A Palestinian child, wounded in an Israeli strike on a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, is placed on a stretcher with an adult, in the northern Gaza Strip, into the emergency room of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya.

Source: AP/Press Association Images

He added that it was “unfortunately” the case that nowhere in Gaza was realistically safe.

He said that there needed to be a ceasefire.

More than 800 Palestinians have now been killed, including a 23-year-old pregnant woman overnight.

Read: Israeli shell hits UN school in Gaza killing 15 people, including UN staff

Read: Palestinian shot dead by Israeli forces in West Bank protests

Read: “We didn’t think it was appropriate.”- Charlie Flanagan defends Ireland’s abstention on Gaza vote

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