In one of the strongest condemnations of an attack on a United Nations facility in Gaza, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Sunday’s strike on a U.N. Relief and Works Agency school in Rafah that killed at least 10 people “a moral outrage and a criminal act.”
— UNRWA (@UNRWA) August 3, 2014
The school was being used as a shelter for around 3,000 displaced Palestinians when an Israeli airstrike hit nearby, a preliminary UNRWA investigation indicated. The school is in Rafah, a city that borders Egypt and the site of some of Israel’s most intense strikes during the weekend. Many of the dead are children and at least one UNRWA staffer was killed.
"The United States is appalled by today's disgraceful [attack] outside an UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons, in which at least 10 more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement Sunday.
An Israeli army spokesperson said the attack was under investigation.
“The attack is yet another gross violation of international humanitarian law, which clearly requires protection by both parties of Palestinian civilians, U.N. staff and U.N. premises, among other civilian facilities,” Ban's statement said.
The Associated Press reported the attack was the sixth on a U.N. facility in Gaza being used for Palestinians who have been forced from their homes. Less than a week ago, another attack on a U.N. school killed at least 16 people.
“How this continues to happen I have no idea. I don’t have words for it. I don’t understand it,” UNRWA Director Robert Turner told the Associated Press Sunday.
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The Israeli military said at least 88 rockets were fired into Israel Sunday from Gaza. The death toll climbed to 1,830 Palestinians, the Gaza Health Ministry said, as some 70 bodies were reportedly pulled from the rubble in Rafah. Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and three civilians have died since the start of the clashes July 8.
“This madness must stop,” Ban said Sunday.