UN: School shelling 'a source of universal shame'

The United Nations relief and works agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA), has condemned the Israeli shelling of a school being used as a shelter as a "universal shame" and a "serious violation of international law."

A man carries a child through the remains of a classroom being used as a UN shelter in Gaza. Credit: Reuters

The UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl has alled on the international community to act to end the "continuing carnage". Speaking from Jerusalem, he said:

Children killed in their sleep; this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced.

We have visited the site and gathered evidence. We have analysed fragments, examined craters and other damage....It is too early to give a confirmed official death toll. But we know that there were multiple civilian deaths and injuries including of women and children and the UNRWA guard who was trying to protect the site. These are people who were instructed to leave their homes by the Israeli army.

The precise location of the Jabalia Elementary Girls School and the fact that it was housing thousands of internally displaced people was communicated to the Israeli army seventeen times. I condemn in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces.

We have moved beyond the realm of humanitarian action alone. We are in the realm of accountability. I call on the international community to take deliberate international political action to put an immediate end to the continuing carnage.