Deadly Israeli shelling hits Gaza UN school

Photo: Deadly Israeli shelling hits Gaza UN school  / Arab-Israel Relations

Israeli shelling on a UN-run school being used as a shelter in the Gaza Strip has killed at least 16 people and injured scores of others, the health ministry in Gaza said Al Jazeera reported

Wednesday's shelling hit the school in Jabaliya refugee camp, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said, on the 23rd day of Israel's military campaign against the Palestinian coastal enclave.

Earlier medics put the death toll at 23.

An official for the UN's Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, told the AFP news agency that the strike hit a bathroom and two classrooms inside the girls' school.

Al Jazeera's Imtiaz Tyab, reporting from Gaza's Kamal Adwan hospital, where scores of injured were brought, said there were more than 90 injured.

"Looking around me I can see some with what appears to be shrapnel wounds and some with far more serious wounds," he said.

He said people there did not know why Israel had hit the shelter, adding that the attack caused panic among people living in different UN-run shelters.

"As we were driving to the hospital, we saw families with many children leaving other UN schools. They feel insecure. There seem to be no safe shelter for them, not even in UN schools," our correspondent said.

Almost 15,000 Palestinians were seeking shelter in 83 UNRWA schools, according to UN refugee agency.

The army had begun heavy tank shelling in the area a couple of hours prior to the incident.

The shelling brought Wednesday morning's death toll to at least 35, in a conflict that has killed more than 1,258 Palestinians, according to the health ministry's figures.

Ceasefire attempts

On Tuesday, at least 100 people were killed in Israeli bombardment on Gaza and the only power station in the enclave was shelled.

Violence shows no signs of abating despite an announcement by Palestinian factions that they were ready for a new Gaza truce and Washington said Israel had sought help in calming the conflict.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talked to him "about an idea and a possibility of a ceasefire. He raised it with me, as he has consistently".

The top US diplomat added that Netanyahu had said he "would embrace a ceasefire that permits Israel to protect itself against [Palestinian fighters'] tunnels and obviously not be disadvantaged for the great sacrifice they have made thus far".

There was no Israeli government comment.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said after consultations with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the two main armed groups in Gaza, that there was "willingness for a ceasefire and humanitarian truce for 24 hours".

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