U.S. 'Appalled' By Deadly Airstrike Outside U.N. School In Gaza
An Israeli airstrike outside a U.N.-run school in Gaza killed at least 10 people Sunday, Palestinian health officials say. The attack came as Israel declares that a soldier believed to have been captured had actually died in battle.
Update at 7:35 p.m. ET: U.S. And U.N. Condemn Attack
The attack at the school "is a moral outrage and a criminal act," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Sunday. He released a strongly worded statement saying the airstrike was "yet another gross violation of international humanitarian law."
Both the U.N. and the U.S. are calling for an investigation into the attack, as they also urged both sides to take more precautions to keep civilians safe.
"The United States is appalled by today's disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. Noting that the school's coordinates for U.N. facilities in Gaza "have been repeatedly communicated to the Israeli Defense Forces," Psaki said that "Israel must do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties."
Our original post continues:
Despite signs Saturday that Israel might soon scale back its 27-day military offensive, the fighting continued Sunday, with Israel's defense forces saying they've launched more than 60 airstrikes today; officials also said 108 rockets and mortar shells had been fired at their country from Gaza, Haaretz reports (figures updated at 4:50 p.m. ET).
Citing initial reports, the strike near the U.N. school in Rafah may have been targeting someone who was riding a motorcycle, NPR's Emily Harris says — "and the hit happened just as the motorbike passed the gates of the school."
She adds that the Israeli military says it's investigating the incident, which is the third deadly attack in or near schools sheltering people who have left their homes seeking safety in Gaza.
What you need to know about the Gaza conflict today:
-- The Soldier
Israel says Lt. Hadar Goldin, who had been widely reported as having been captured by Hamas militants Friday, died in the fighting that led to his disappearance. His family was informed late last night; his funeral will be held Sunday afternoon.
-- The Human Cost
The latest updates on the fighting's toll list 1,803 people killed (updated at 4:50 p.m. ET) and more than 9,000 wounded in Gaza, the Palestinian health ministry says. Israel says 64 of its soldiers and three civilians have died in the violence.
-- The Tunnels
Calling the destruction of Hamas' network of tunnels a chief goal of the current offensive, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday that Israel has nearly completed destroying them. He said the military would "regroup" when that task is complete.
-- Peace Talks
Representatives from Hamas have arrived in Cairo for talks about a possible cease-fire, joining Egyptian negotiators and envoys from the U.S. and U.N, Agence France-Presse reports. Israel said it wouldn't send a delegation to the talks, citing Hamas' breech of a planned three-day truce Friday after just two hours.
-- The Duration
At 27 days, the fighting between Israel and Hamas is now longer than the other two conflicts that have erupted since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007.