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Ban Ki-moon denounces Israeli shelling of UN school as 'criminal act'

August 4, 2014 at 9:27 am

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned on Sunday the killing of Palestinian civilians in an Israeli attack on an UNRWA school in the city of Rafah in the south of Gaza, describing the attack as a “criminal act”.

Ten Palestinians were killed and dozens of others were injured on Sunday after Israeli shelling hit an UNRWA school that was providing shelter to thousands of civilians who fled the on-going Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.

“The attack is yet another gross violation of international humanitarian law, which clearly requires protection by both parties of Palestinian civilians, UN staff and UN premises, among other civilian facilities,” Ban Ki-moon said in a statement.

This attack, he continued, “must be swiftly investigated and those responsible held accountable. It is a moral outrage and a criminal act.”

He stressed that “UN shelters must be safe zones not combat zones,” and pointed out that Israeli occupation forces “have been repeatedly informed of the location of these sites”.

Ban Ki-moon added that calm could only be restored “through resumption of the ceasefire and negotiations by the parties in Cairo to address the underlying issues.”

He repeated his demand to both sides to “immediately end the fighting and return to the path of peace”.

“This madness must stop,” he warned.

The Palestinian movement Hamas has accused the UN Secretary General of being an “accomplice” to Israel in its war against the Palestinian people.

“Ban Ki-moon is an accomplice in this massacre because of his silence about it—and because he expressed sadness for the killing of Israeli troops, who are murderers, while he ignored the killing of innocent [Palestinian] civilians,” Hamas’s spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said in a press statement.

Under the pretext of ending the firing of rockets from Gaza toward Israeli towns and cities, the Israeli army has waged a relentless war on the Gaza Strip since 7 July, killing 1,830 Palestinians and injuring 9,370 as of Sunday. The vast majority of the casualties are civilians.

According to Israeli sources, 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians have been killed, one a Thai national. Also 530 Israelis have been in injured, mostly civilians who were subjected to a state of “panic” due to siren alerts. The Ezzeddin Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, says that it has killed 161 Israeli soldiers and captured one.

Report by Mohamed Tarek, for Anadolu news agency