Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli tanks shell UN school, killing 15 and injuring 200

Wounded Palestinian children are pictured lying on the floor of a hospital emergency room

A Palestinian child, wounded in an Israeli strike on a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, cries at the emergency room of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya, Thursday, July 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A Palestinian child, wounded in an Israeli strike on a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, cries at the emergency room of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya, Thursday, July 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Blood and and discarded belongings are left behind at a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Israeli tank shells hit the compound, killing more than a dozen people and wounding dozens more who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside, Palestinian officials said, as Israel pressed forward with its 17-day war against the territory's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Palestinian children, wounded in an Israeli strike on a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, lay on the floor of an emergency room at the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya, Thursday, July 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A Palestinian man carries a child, wounded in an Israeli strike on a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, cries at the emergency room of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya, Thursday, July 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A Palestinian child, wounded in an Israeli strike on a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, cries at the emergency room of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya, Thursday, July 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
ISRAEL/GAZA BORDER, ISRAEL - JULY 24 : (ISRAEL OUT) Israeli soldiers prepare their Tanks in a deployment area on July 24, 2014 on Israel's border with the Gaza Strip. Washington's top diplomat said global efforts to end 17 days of bloodshed in Gaza were progressing as the Palestinian death toll rose to 714 and airlines kept flights to Israel suspended over rocket fears. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX***

At least 15 Palestinians have been killed after Israeli tanks shelled a UN-run school in Gaza, health officials have said.

Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesperson for the Gaza Health Ministry, said that another 200 people were wounded in the attack on a compound offering shelter to those who had already fled the fighting elsewhere.

While the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) had no immediate comment on the incident, news agency photographers reported seeing pools of blood on the ground in the courtyard of the school near the apparent impact mark of a shell.

Israeli Radio, without citing a source, said that most of those killed at the UN compound were children.

It comes after the UN's humanitarian chief drew attention to the "major concern" of child fatalities in the conflict, which has seen one child killed every hour over the past three days.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said: "There is literally no safe place for civilians [in Gaza]."

Hundreds of Palestinians had been inside the school in Beit Hanoun, struck today in the fourth such incident since the Israeli military offensive began on 8 July.

The director of a local hospital said various medical centres around Beit Hanoun in the coastal enclave were receiving the wounded.

"Such a massacre requires more than one hospital to deal with it," said Ayman Hamdan, director of the Beit Hanoun hospital.

Earlier today Valerie Amos, the UN Under-Secretary-General for humanitarian affairs, said the "dire" situation in Gaza required an immediate truce so that aid could get to those worst-affected.

Baroness Amos said: "People are sheltering in UN schools which as a result cannot be used for education. They are running out of food, and water is also a serious concern.

"But the majority of those killed in Gaza are women, children and men who have nothing to do with the fighting. That we have had children, so many children killed as a result of the violence in the last few days is a terrible, terrible situation."

Further reading:

Minister defends abstention 

Hammond calls for Gaza ceasefire 

Propaganda oblivious to Jewish tears as it stokes the fires of anti-Semitism 

Gaza crisis: War apologists just as guilty as the combatants 

Vehemence of anger against Israel shocking 

Israel-Gaza conflict: Civilian casualties in Gaza tell stories of death and heartbreak 

Israel may have committed war crimes in Gaza, says UN's human rights chief Navi Pillay 

How anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel led to attack on Northern Ireland synagogue 

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