Israeli air strike on UN-run school kills at least 10 people, wounds 30

Palestinians carry a wounded man following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike at a United Nations-run school, where displaced Palestinians take refuge, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 3, 2014. An Israeli air strike killed a
Palestinians carry a wounded man following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike at a United Nations-run school, where displaced Palestinians take refuge, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 3, 2014. An Israeli air strike killed at least 10 people and wounded about 30 others on Sunday in a United Nations-run school in the southern Gaza Strip, a Palestinian official said, as dozens died in Israeli shelling of the enclave and Hamas fired rockets at Israel. The Israeli military said it was looking into the reported attack, the second to hit a school in less than a week. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An Israeli air strike killed at least 10 people and wounded about 30 others on Sunday in a United Nations-run school in the southern Gaza Strip, a Palestinian official said, as dozens died in Israeli shelling of the enclave and Hamas fired rockets at Israel. The Israeli military said it was looking into the reported attack, the second to hit a school in less than a week.

In the town of Rafah, where the military has been battling militants, a missile from an Israeli aircraft struck the entrance to the school, where Palestinians who had fled their homes were sheltering, witnesses and medics said.

Mr Ashraf Al-Qidra, spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry, said 10 people were killed and 30 wounded. Mr Adnan Abu Hasna, spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza, said: "It is believed that there was an air strike that hit outside the gate of an UNRWA school, a designated shelter for at least 3,000 displaced residents."

"There were multiple dead and injuries inside and outside the school, including an UNRWA staffer," he added.

Last Wednesday, at least 15 Palestinians who sought refuge in a UN-run school in Jabalya refugee camp were killed during fighting, and the UN said it appeared that Israeli artillery had hit the building. The Israeli military said gunmen had fired mortar bombs from near the school and it shot back in response.

The Israeli media, on the 27th day of the fighting, reported that most Israeli troops had pulled out of Gaza, and Reuters TV footage showed a column of Israeli tanks and dozens of infantrymen leaving the enclave.

An Israeli military spokesman stopped short of calling the move a withdrawal, but said residents from a number of evacuated Palestinian neighbourhoods had been told by the army they could return. "The troops are in the midst of a redeployment to other parts of the border," said Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner. "Indeed we are releasing troops from the front line but the mission is ongoing. Ground forces are operating. Air forces are operating."

Earlier on Sunday, Israeli shelling killed at least 30 people in Gaza, a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to keep up pressure on Hamas even after the army completes its core mission of destroying a tunnel network that extends into Israel.

Mr Netanyahu says Gaza's dominant Hamas faction bears ultimate responsibility for civilian casualties, accusing gunmen and rocket-launching squads of using residents in densely populated areas as "human shields".

In Rafah, Fatah faction leader and local resident Ashraf Goma said Israeli forces were bombarding the town from air, ground and sea and locals were unable to deal with the wounded and the dead. "Bodies of the wounded are bleeding in the streets and other corpses are laid on the road with no one able to recover them. "I saw a man on a donkey cart bringing seven bodies into the hospital. Bodies are being kept in ice-cream refrigerators, in flower and vegetable coolers," Mr Goma told Reuters.

An Israeli army spokeoman said that so far on Sunday at least 13 rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel. One was intercepted by Israel's anti-missile system and the rest landed in open areas.

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