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UN school in Gaza hit by shelling for second time

A United Nations school sheltering people who have fled Israeli airstrikes in Gaza has been hit by shelling from Israeli shelling, the UN said.

Fighting has now been raging for 16 days and has left more than 650 dead.

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Pope expresses 'grave concerns' over Gaza clashes

Pope Francis last month met with Mahmoud Abbas and Shimon Peres. Credit: Reuters

Pope Francis has spoken to Israeli President Shimon Peres and West Bank-based Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to express his "very grave concerns" over the conflict in Gaza, the Vatican says.

"A small group of fanatics are the cause of suffering in Gaza. Israel is doing everything to lower the flames and minimise civilian casualties," Peres replied during a telephone call, according to statement from his office.

Abbas, who held a prayer for peace with Peres at the Vatican last month, told the pontiff he was "exerting all required effort, together with Egypt and all other parties to halt the bloodshed and relieve out people's suffering", according to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

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