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General
Israeli attack on Gaza School a ‘criminal act’, says Ban Ki-moon
04-08-2014

JERUSALEM: The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned a third deadly attack on a UN school in Gaza, saying Israel was “repeatedly informed of the location of these sites.”

The UN chief described Sunday’s apparent Israeli airstrike on the school in Rafah as a “moral outrage and a criminal act.” He said it was a “gross violation of international humanitarian law,” and called for those responsible to be held accountable.

At least 10 civilians were killed and 30 wounded in the attack, the third to hit a UN-run school sheltering civilians. At least 15 Palestinians died in a strike on a school in Jabalya on Wednesday, just days after 19 people died at a school in Beit Hanoun.

The Israeli army has said it is investigating the shelling of the Rafah School, which was housing some 3,000 displaced people. Meanwhile British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said he had discussed the attack with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni by phone.

In a statement he said that while the facts were not clear he was “appalled at reports of further civilian casualties in the vicinity of a UN-run school.” In an earlier interview with the Sunday Telegraph he said he was “gravely concerned” by the mounting death toll in Gaza, which has now topped 1,770.

“The British public has a strong sense that the situation of the civilian population in Gaza is intolerable and must be addressed - and we agree with them,” he told the newspaper. “It’s a broad swath of British public opinion that feels deeply disturbed by what it is seeing on its television screens,” he added.

At least 30 Palestinians were killed in separate attacks on Sunday, a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned he is prepared to continue the operation in Gaza for as long as it takes to return his citizens to safety.

However the military did signal that its ground operation was drawing to a close and Israeli media reported that troops and tanks had begun to pull back towards the border.