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Shelling of UN school in Gaza 'must be investigated'

Ban Ki-Moon called the attack “absolutely unacceptable”.

Ban Ki-moon visiting a U.N. school in Gaza yesterday.
Ban Ki-moon visiting a U.N. school in Gaza yesterday.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

UN CHIEF BAN Ki-moon has demanded an independent probe into Israel’s deadly shelling of a school during the Gaza conflict, expressing shock at the devastation during a visit to the Palestinian enclave.

Two days after donor states pledged €4.3 billion to rebuild Gaza, Ban toured some of the areas worst hit during the July-August war between Israel and the territory’s Hamas rulers.

“No amount of (UN) Security Council sessions, reports or briefings could have prepared me for what I witnessed today,” he said after being driven through the ruins of Gaza City’s Shejaiya district and the nearby Jabaliya refugee camp.

The secretary general was speaking at a UN school in Jabaliya, where tank shells slammed into two classrooms on June 30, killing at least 14 people sheltering there.

“The shelling of the United Nations school is absolutely unacceptable. These actions must be fully and independently investigated,” he said.

Relatives of the dead held up posters showing their loved ones and disabled casualties waited to see Ban.

The UN chief also called on Palestinian militant groups to cease firing rockets at Israel from the territory.

He said:

I repeat here in Gaza the rockets fired by Hamas and other military groups must end. They have brought nothing but suffering.

One classroom, now repaired, had the words “every human being has the right to life” written on its walls.

After meeting with members of a new Palestinian consensus government, Ban told reporters the devastation he had seen was worse than that caused in the previous conflict of winter 2008-2009.

“This is a much more serious destruction than what I saw in 2009,” he said, adding that the international pledges of reconstruction aid were “quite encouraging.”

Donations include $1 billion from Qatar, $212 million from the United States and 450 million euros from the EU.

Provision of the aid will be overseen jointly by the UN and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, amid concerns that unchecked imports could fall into the hands of militants, including those of the Islamist movement Hamas.

Hamas and its rival Fatah, which dominates the PA, signed a unity deal in April under which the consensus government was sworn in.

© AFP 2014

Read: Ireland is going to give €2.5 million extra to Gaza >

More: Israel to press ahead with 2,600 settler homes in Jerusalem >

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