Last week, on Thursday, there were reports that the UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun had been bombed, with a number of civilians killed and wounded in the bombing.
International scrutiny of Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip intensified on Thursday when more than 15 Palestinians were killed and 200 injured in a strike on a UN school in northern Gaza crowded with hundreds of displaced civilians.From the UNRWA statement:
Most of the injured were women and children. Among the dead was a mother and her one-year-old baby. UN staff had been attempting to organise the school's evacuation when the attack took place.
Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the UN, condemned the attack, which came hours after the agency had warned that Israel's actions in the Palestinian enclave could constitute war crimes. "Today's attack underscores the imperative for the killing to stop and to stop now," Ban said.
STATEMENT BY THE UNRWA COMMISSIONER-GENERAL PIERRE KRÄHENBÜHLFrom the 25 July 2014 OCHA report:
24 July 2014
MULTIPLE DEATHS AND INJURIES AT UNRWA SCHOOL IN BEIT HANOUN, GAZA
The scenes of carnage and human suffering that we witnessed today at our elementary school in Beit Hanoun were so appalling and intolerable, that it is difficult to find the words to convey adequately my indignation. As has happened so many times in this pitiless conflict, civilians are paying the highest price of the current military escalation. I condemn this callous shelling and the extensive loss of life in the strongest possible terms and call for an immediate investigation to ensure that circumstances and responsibilities are comprehensively and irrefutably established.
At approximately 14:55 today, as hostilities were intensifying, UNRWA’s Beit Hanoun Elementary Co-Ed A and D school compound was struck by explosive projectiles, causing death and injuries to multiple displaced Palestinian civilians who had sought refuge in this UN installation. This school had been designated as an UNRWA Emergency Shelter.
Occupied Palestinian Territory: Gaza EmergencyThe IDF now admit that the IDF fired at least one mortar at the school but claim that there were no casualties at the school.
Situation Report (as of 25 July 2014, 1500 hrs)
The fatalities include 11 IDPs, including seven children, taking refuge in UNRWA’s Beit Hanoun elementary school, which yesterday at around 15:00 was hit by explosive projectiles. Over 100 other IDPs have been injured in the incident. The school’s coordinates had been formally conveyed to the Israeli army on 12 occasions. Prior to the incident, UNRWA had been attempting to negotiate with the Israeli army for a safe corridor to relocate staff and any displaced person who chose to evacuate to a more secure location; approval for that never came. This followed three previous incidents in the past few days in which UNRWA shelters had been hit.
11:45 A.M. The IDF rejects reports that 15 Palestinians were killed in a strike on an UNRWA school in Beit Hanun on Thursday. According to the army, militants fired antitank missiles from the school toward IDF troops, who retaliated with mortar fire. A military inquiry into the incident found that one of the Israeli shells hit the school's yard, which was empty at the time. "The findings disprove claims about casualties within the school," the army said.
An Israel Defense Forces investigation into the strike on a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip has revealed that the courtyard was struck by an Israeli mortar, but was empty of people at the time – thus undermining claims that at least 15 Palestinians were killed in the strike.
According to Palestinian reports, the courtyard of a UNRWA school in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun was hit on Thursday whilst it was full of refugee families, leaving at least 15 dead – mostly women and children. ...
“In light of the investigation’s findings, we have rejected claims of casualties in the school grounds as they were presented by various elements immediately after the incident took place,” the IDF Spokesman’s Unit announced Sunday morning. “The IDF regrets any harm to citizens who are not involved in the fighting but continually emphasizes that this occurs as a sad result of Hamas’ choice to use civilians as human shields.”