Israel-Gaza conflict: Ban ki-Moon declares Israeli attack on UN school which killed 10 people ‘a criminal act’
An Israeli attack on a UN school in Gaza which killed 10 people today was “a moral outrage and a criminal act”, according to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who called for those responsible for the “gross violation of international law” to be brought to account.
It was the seventh time a UN shelter has been hit in the 27 days of the Gaza conflict. The victims had all taken shelter in the schools after being instructed by the Israeli military to leave their homes.
The latest deaths took place in Rafah, which has been subjected to a ferocious assault after Israel accused Hamas of kidnapping a soldier and killing two others in an ambush. The dead were among 118 reported killed today by the Palestinian ministry of health, bring the number of Palestinians killed to more than 1,800.
On Saturday evening, the Israeli military confirmed that Lieutenant Hadar Goldin was killed in action. But there was no respite in the attacks and this morning’s blast, at the entrance of the Rafah Preparatory A Boys School, came as a group of boys and girls were gathered around a stall selling sweets and crisps.
Of the 10 dead, four were children aged between five and 12. Their bodies, wrapped in blankets, were laid on the pavement outside before being moved to a local hospital. Some of the adults were in a food queue just inside when the blast took place. The missile had left a shallow indentation where it had hit the road, spraying shrapnel.
The deaths came as some Israeli forces began to withdraw from the northern parts of Gaza. Residents were told they could return to those areas. However, some who did do so came under fire; among them were the Sobah family, four of whom were injured in a drone strike minutes after arriving in Beit Lahiya.
The attacks on the schools had led to bitter international recriminations, with the UN Secretary-General and foreign governments criticising the Israeli military. The shelling of a shelter at Jabaliya, in the north, killing 19, was condemned by Mr Ban as “unjustifiable and shameful” and drew an unusually severe rebuke from the Obama administration.
The Israeli military had been informed no less than 17 times about the location of the Jabaliya school, the UN revealed. An attack the previous week in Beit Lahiya, resulting in 16 deaths, led to the UN and the Israeli military trading accusations over who was to blame for a failure to evacuate the building.
Gaza : attaque d’une école de l’ONU, au moins 10 morts
03/08 17:46 CET
Une école gérée par l’UNRWA, l’agence de l’ONU qui accueille les réfugiés palestiniens, a de nouveau été attaquée dans la bande de Gaza, et plus précisément dans le sud, à Rafah.
Les sources médicales font état d’au moins 10 morts et d’une trentaine de blessés, à qui des civils s’emploient à porter secours, courant avec des corps dans les bras.
Cette école, comme beaucoup d’autres dans l’enclave palestinienne, faisait office d’abri.
Les secours locaux estiment qu’environ 3000 réfugiés y étaient accueillis.
L’armée israélienne a annoncé qu’elle allait procéder à des vérifications au sujet de cette attaque.
“La localisation de toutes ces installations a été transmise à de multiples reprises à l’armée israélienne, explique Robert Turner, directeur des opérations à l’UNRWA.
Ils savent où sont ces abris. Comment cela peut-il continuer, je n’en ai aucune idée, je n’ai pas les mots, je ne comprends pas.”
C’est la troisième fois depuis le début de l’offensive israélienne dans la bande de Gaza qu’une école de l’ONU est atteinte.
Une trentaine de Palestiniens ont déjà été tués dans des frappes sur des écoles à Beit Hanoun le 24 juillet et à Jabaliya le 31 juillet.
Le secrétaire général de l’ONU Ban Ki-Moon a qualifié cette attaque d’“outrage moral” et d’“acte criminel”, ajoutant que les responsables devraient en répondre.
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