Israeli soldiers ride a tank after returning to Israel from
Gaza. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola
An Israeli air strike killed 10 people and wounded about
30 on Sunday in a UN-run school in the southern Gaza Strip, a
Palestinian official said, as dozens died in Israeli shelling
of the enclave and Hamas fired rockets at Israel.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the attack as a
"moral outrage and a criminal act" and called for those
responsible for the "gross violation of international
humanitarian law" to be held accountable.
The United States was "appalled by today's disgraceful
shelling" and urged Israel to do more to prevent civilian
casualties, according to a statement by State Department
spokeswoman Jen Psaki. She also called for an investigation
into recent attacks on UN schools.
It was the second strike on a school in less than a week.
The Israeli military said it had "targeted three Islamic
Jihad terrorists on board a motorcycle in the vicinity of an
UNRWA school in Rafah" and added it was "reviewing the
consequences of this strike."
Islamic Jihad did not report any of its militants killed or
injured in the incident. A Palestinian health official said
all those wounded or killed were from inside the school.
Amid Hamas accusations that Israel had misled the world about
the alleged capture of an Israeli soldier, the officer,
Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, was buried on Sunday after the
military said it recovered remains and he was killed in
Goldin's suspected abduction led to the collapse of a U.S.-
and UN-brokered ceasefire on Friday. In Cairo, efforts to
find a new truce were due to resume on Sunday.
With the fighting in its 27th day, Reuters TV footage showed
a column of Israeli tanks and dozens of infantrymen leaving
Gaza. But an Israeli military spokesman denied reports by
Israeli and some U.S. media that most Israeli troops had been
pulled out of the coastal enclave.
"We are redeploying and regrouping, and we have extensive
forces both on the ground in Gaza and on the border at this
time," Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner said.
Israel's troops were "awaiting further orders and preparing a
course of action for the next stage," Lerner said.
In the town of Rafah, where the military has been battling
militants, a missile from an Israeli aircraft struck the
entrance to the UN-run school, where Palestinians who had
fled their homes were sheltering, witnesses and medics said.
Ashraf Al-Qidra, spokesman for the Gaza health ministry, said
10 people had been killed and 30 wounded, all from inside the
Robert Serry, UN Middle East Special Coordinator, said the
school had been sheltering 3,000 displaced persons and the
strike caused multiple deaths and injuries.
"It is simply intolerable that another school has come under
fire while designated to provide shelter for civilians
fleeing the hostilities," he said.
Last Wednesday, at least 15 Palestinians who sought refuge in
a UN-run school in Jabalya refugee camp were killed during
fighting, and the UN said Israeli artillery had apparently
hit the building. The Israeli military said gunmen had fired
mortar bombs from near the school and it shot back in
Earlier on Sunday, Israeli shelling killed at least 30 people
in Gaza, a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed
to keep up pressure on Hamas even after the army completes
its core mission of destroying a tunnel network used by
Palestinian militants to attack Israel.
Netanyahu says Gaza's dominant Hamas faction bears ultimate
responsibility for civilian casualties, accusing gunmen and
rocket-launching squads of using residents in densely
populated areas as "human shields".
In Rafah, Fatah faction leader and local resident Ashraf Goma
said locals were unable to deal with the casualties.
"Bodies of the wounded are bleeding in the streets and other
corpses are laid on the road with no one able to recover
"I saw a man on a donkey cart bringing seven bodies into the
hospital. Bodies are being kept in ice-cream refrigerators,
in flower and vegetable coolers," Goma told Reuters.
The Israeli army said that more than 55 rockets had been
fired from Gaza at Israel on Sunday. Shrapnel from a rocket
shot down by Israel's Iron Dome interceptor fell inside a
playground in the Tel Aviv area but caused no injury, media
Israeli troops had discovered a cache of 150 mortar bombs in
the southern Gaza Strip. They had clashed with Palestinian
fighters who emerged from a tunnel and with others preparing
to launch an anti-tank missile from a house in the area, a
military statement said.
Israel began its offensive against Gaza on July 8 following a
surge of cross-border rocket salvoes by Hamas and other
The fighting on Sunday pushed the Gaza death toll given by
Palestinian officials to 1,775, most of them civilians.
Israel has confirmed that 64 soldiers have died in combat,
while Palestinian rockets have also killed three civilians in
In new truce moves, a delegation from Hamas and the Islamic
Jihad group arrived in the Egyptian capital, but a quick
breakthrough seemed unlikely in the absence of Israeli
After accusing Hamas of breaching Friday's short-lived
ceasefire, Israel said it would not send envoys as scheduled.
Israel says it wants Gaza demilitarised under any long-term
Hamas, sworn to Israel's destruction, demands Israel withdraw
its troops and a lifting of Israeli and Egyptian blockades
that have choked Gaza's economy.
A Palestinian official said Palestinian representatives in
Cairo had formulated a joint paper listing those conditions
as well as demands for the release of Hamas prisoners held by
Israel and the start of a Gaza reconstruction process.
In Gaza, Israel intensified attacks in the area of Rafah
along the border with Egypt, where Goldin had been feared
captured on Friday. Hamas described Israeli shelling in the
town as unjustified retribution for what the group said was a
false accusation that the officer had been abducted.
Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said Goldin was a relative of
his. "He and other soldiers who fell embarked on the campaign
to restore quiet and security to Israel," he said.
The Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, said
three dozen tunnels had been unearthed and destroyed and "we
are finishing up de-commissioning these tunnels".
"We hope that that job will be completed in a matter of
hours, not days," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press".