Israeli strike on U.N. school in Gaza kills seven

Photo: Israeli strike on U.N. school in Gaza kills seven / Arab-Israel Relations

Seven have been killed in an Israeli attack on a United Nations school in Gaza, witnesses and medics said Al Arabiya reported

A missile launched by an aircraft struck the entrance to the school in the town of Rafah south of Gaza, the sources told Reuters news agency.

Hundreds of Palestinians in the area, where the Israeli military said it has been battling Hamas fighters, had been sheltering in the school.

Withdrawal and redeployment

This comes after an Israeli army spokesperson said Sunday some troops had begun withdrawing as operations against Hamas continue.

"We are removing some (forces), we are changing from within," Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said, saying it as "an ongoing mission".

"We are redeploying within the Gaza Strip and taking out other different positions, and relieving other forces from within, so it won't be the same type of ground operation," he told AFP.

"But indeed we will continue to operate ... (and) have a rapid reaction force on the ground that can engage Hamas if required," he added.

These remarks follow yesterday's indications that operations in Gaza were coming to an end after the army informed citizens of Beit Lahiya and Al-Atatra in the north that it was "safe" to return home.

Witnesses in the north confirmed seeing troops leaving the area as others were seen pulling out of villages east of Khan Yunis in the south.

It was the first time troops had been seen pulling back since the start of the Israeli operation which began on July 8.

Lerner confirmed troops had pulled out of Beit Lahiya and Al-Atatra, but refused to be drawn on whether the pullout would expand into other areas hit by heavy fighting.

"The reality is that Hamas has tried to continue its attacks so we need to maintain our presence to a certain extent and combat those intentions," he said.

"In the next 24 hours we will see the activity continued on the ground and the redeployment in parallel," he said, without elaborating.

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