FIFTEEN PEOPLE WERE today killed when Israeli fire hit a United Nations (UN) run school in Gaza.
Emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said a further 200 were wounded by Israeli shelling of the school which is run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in the northern town of Beit Hanun.
It is believed that hundreds had sought refuge from the violence inside the building.
It is reported that a mother and her one-year-old infant were among the dead brought into a nearby mortary. This brings the Palestinian toll on the 17th day of the conflict to 788, medics said.
UN chief Ban Ki-Moon said he was appalled by the news:
“Many have been killed — including women and children, as well as UN staff,” he said in a statement this evening.
“Today’s attack underscores the imperative for the killing to stop – and to stop now,” he added.
A later air strike between the southern cities of Rafah and Khan Yunis killed seven people, the “majority of them children” from three different families, Qudra said.
He gave the names and ages of three of the children — Mahmud Abedin, 12, Nabeel al-Astal, 12, and Ashraf al-Najjar, 13 — but no further details.
The deaths raised today’s death toll in Gaza to 93, according to Qudra’s figures, with 788 killed in total and more than 5,000 wounded.
Those numbers do not include more than a dozen Palestinian militants killed after infiltrating southern Israel since the conflict began on July 8.
Among those killed on today were seven who died in air strikes and tank fire in and around Khuzaa near Khan Yunis in southern Gaza.
Five people from the Abu Daqqa family were killed along with two from the Najjar family, Qudra told AFP.
Areas east of Khan Yunis near the Israeli border have come under heavy bombardment in recent days, with emergency services trying to coordinate with the Red Cross to gain access to evacuate civilians.
“We have been receiving dozens of appeals from residents of Khuzaa, Abasan and Bani Suheila in Khan Yunis asking us to evacuate them, and saying there were a lot of people killed and injured underneath the rubble of their houses,” Qudra said.
So far, 32 Israeli soldiers have been killed since the beginning of the conflict, along with two Israeli civilians and one Thai farm worker.
The army’s losses are its heaviest since a 2006 war with Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.
Originally posted 7:35pm