Nation & World News

Gaza Conflict: Shell Strikes U.N. School, Killing Up To 19 Who Sought Shelter

By Eyder Peralta on July 30th, 2014

As many as 19 people were killed when a shell struck a school run by the United Nations in Gaza, this morning.

In a message on Twitter, Pierre Krähenbühl, the commissioner-general of UNRWA, which is responsible for the welfare of Palestinian refugees, blamed the attack on the Israeli military.

“Children, women and men killed & injured as they slept in place where they should have been safe and protected,” Krähenbühl said, referring to the fact that the school was being used as a shelter. “They were not. Intolerable.”

According to Krähenbühl, this is the sixth time shells have hit a UNRWA school. He called this incident “a breaking point.”

NPR’s Emily Harris reports that this is the second time a U.N. school has been hit and people have been killed.

With that, here’s what you need to know as the conflict enters its 23rd day.

— Israeli Response:

A spokesman for the Israeli Army tells the Washington Post that Israeli forces “came under mortar fire earlier Wednesday from a point near the school in the Jebaliya refugee camp and responded toward the source of the fire.”

They will review the incident.

— The Death Toll:

NPR’s Emily Harris reports the death toll in Gaza has exceeded 1,200. The death toll in Israel is 56, which includes three civilians.

Here’s the United Nations’ breakdown of those numbers, but note the graphic has not caught up with the current tolls:

— The Peace Process:

The conflict does not seem to be ending any time soon.

As Emily explained on Morning Edition, it’s hard to tell what both sides are thinking but what’s clear is that “neither side seems to be in a position to get what they want to end this fighting.”

Remember: Israel is seeking a complete demilitarization of Gaza, which Hamas is unlikely to accept and Hamas is seeking an end to the blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt, which Israel is unlikely to accept.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports Israel is considering submitting a resolution to the U.N. Security Council that would end the fighting. A resolution of that kind ended the 1996 Lebanon war.

Emily reports one Israeli official said Israel would only pursue this route if the U.S. agreed.

— A Temporary Cease-Fire:

The AP reports:

“The Israeli military says it’s declared a four-hour cease-fire in some areas of the Gaza Strip for humanitarian reasons.”

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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