Israeli tank shells hit a compound housing a UN school in Gaza on Thursday killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens who were seeking shelter, Palestinian officials said.
Pools of blood stained the school playground in the northern town of Beit Hanoun.
It was the fourth time a UN facility has been hit during the Israeli operation.
Chris Gunness, spokesperson,United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said:
“These are people who have taken shelter in a UN designated area. The warring parties, particularly the Israelis, were given the precise GPS coordinates. They knew exactly what was going on there, and in spite of that, this has happened.”
The Israeli military said that Hamas rockets had landed in the Beit Hanoun area during fighting with its forces, and that those rockets may have been responsible for the deaths.
Yigal Palmor, Israel’s foreign ministry spokesperson, said:
“Why is this fighting going on and why do we see the pictures that we see? I think there is a simple explanation that was provided by the EU foreign ministers in their statement a couple of days ago. Hamas is using its own civilians, Palestinian civilians as human shields.”
Scores of families who had been living at the school ran with their children to this hospital where the victims were being treated.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed his horror at the attack on the school.