U.N.: Israel Shelling School Shelter And Killing 16 Sleeping Children Is A Disgrace To Humanity

THE GUARDIAN: United Nations officials described the killing of sleeping children as a disgrace to the world and accused Israel of a serious violation of international law after a school in Gaza being used to shelter Palestinian families was shelled on Wednesday. At least 15 people, mostly children and women, died when the school in Jabaliya refugee camp was hit by five shells during a night of relentless bombardment across Gaza. More than 100 people were injured. Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, said the attack was “outrageous and unjustifiable” and demanded “accountability and justice”. The UN said its officials had repeatedly given details of the school and its refugee population to Israel. A Palestinian girl cries while receiving treatment for her injuries caused by an Israeli strike. Fighting in Gaza continued through the day despite a four-hour humanitarian ceasefire called by Israel from 3pm. A crowded market in Shujai’iya was hit in the late afternoon, causing at least 17 deaths, including a journalist, and injuring about 200 people [SEE VIDEO, BELOW], according to Gaza health officials. They said people had ventured out to shop in the belief a ceasefire was in place. Witnesses said several shells struck as people were running away. Israel said rockets and mortar shells continued to be fired from Gaza. Israel on Thursday was showing no sign of scaling back Operation Protective Edge, with the military reportedly calling up an additional 16,000 reserves as the offensive entered its 24th day.

At the UN school the first shell came just after the early morning call to prayer, when most of those taking shelter were asleep, crammed into classrooms with what few possessions they had managed to snatch as they fled their homes. About 3,300 people had squashed into Jabaliya Elementary A&B Girls’ School since the Israeli military warned people to leave their homes and neighbourhoods or risk death under intense bombardment. Classroom number one, near the school’s entrance, had become home to about 40 people, mostly women and children. As a shell blasted through the wall, showering occupants with shrapnel and spattering blood on walls and floors, Amna Zantit, 31, scrambled to gather up her three terrified infants in a panicked bid for the relative safety of the schoolyard. “Everyone was trying to escape,” she said, clutching her eight-month old baby tightly. Minutes later, a second shell slammed through the roof of the two-storey school. At least 15 people were killed and more than 100 injured. Most were women or children. MORE

RELATED: The United States issued a firm condemnation of the shelling of a United Nations school in Gaza that killed at least 16 Palestinians on Wednesday, but also confirmed it restocked Israel’s dwindling supplies of ammunition. MORE

WARNING: This video contains distressing images and audio. Israeli strikes killed 17 people, Palestinian authorities said, in a Gaza market as a TV crew was filming a crowd gathered near an ambulance. The area of Shujai’iya has seen some of the heaviest bombardment since Israeli forces began an offensive with the declared aim of curbing rocket fire by Hamas militants. Residents say shells and two missiles hit the area as a crowd gathered to observe a fire at a petrol station. In the footage people can be seen and heard lying on the ground and praying as a succession of blasts cover the area in debris. [via THE GUARDIAN]

RELATED: The video begins with the arrival of two ambulances on a scene where strikes have already happened. Soon a set of strikes leaves the scene obscured in dust. When the view and sound return, there is blood and screaming all around. The camera moves from body to body, some wounded, some apparently dead, as the strikes continue, sending up smoke and flames. There is a lot of blood. The footage passes over the body identified elsewhere as that of Palestinian photographer Rami Rayan, killed in the attack. MORE