UN chief: Attack at school in Gaza 'criminal act'

Nnew York - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned an attack that killed 10 people at a UN school in the Gaza Strip on Sunday as "a moral outrage and a criminal act".

In his most strongly worded statement yet on an attack against a UN facility in Gaza, Ban called it "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".

"This attack, along with other breaches of international law, must be swiftly investigated and those responsible held accountable. It is a moral outrage and a criminal act," Ban said.

A Gaza health official said at least 10 people were killed and 35 wounded after the strike near the boys' school in Rafah. Several bodies, among them children, were strewn inside the UN school's compound.

At least one UN staffer was killed, said Robert Turner, the director of operations for the UN Palestinian refugee agency in Gaza.

Turner said preliminary findings indicated the blast was an Israeli air strike near the school.

At least six UN facilities have been struck by Israeli fire since the conflict between Israel and Hamas began. After an attack that killed at least 16 people at a UN school last week, Ban said "nothing is more shameful than attacking sleeping children".

In Sunday's statement, Ban reiterated that Israel's military has "been repeatedly informed of the location of these sites".

The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the strike, which came as Israel signalled a possible scaling back in the ongoing war.

The UN chief also expressed his frustration with the unravelling of the 72-hour ceasefire last weekend, which he had helped broker along with US Secretary of State John Kerry. Ban earlier blamed Hamas for violating the cease fire.

Ban spent six days in the Middle East last month and countless hours on the phone with Israeli, Palestinian and other leaders trying to broker an end to the fighting.

He called on both sides to resume negotiations for a ceasefire and negotiations in Cairo "to address the underlying issues."

"This madness must stop," Ban said.

- AP
Morne Mouton 2014-08-03 08:11:26 PM
So it's not a criminal act to store rockets at UN schools?
Xolani Ndimba 2014-08-03 08:13:21 PM
Kenneth Meshoe and COPE's Lekota should be proud. Not even the UN sites escape US sponsored bombs in Palestine. Would there be a HAMAS if Palestine was never occupied.
Prego George 2014-08-03 08:14:29 PM
Bankiboon why were the UN so stupid to allow rockets to be stored under there supervision
Jacqueline Kahlberg Steiner 2014-08-03 08:15:47 PM
Perhaps the UN should be more verbal about terrorists using civilians as well as civilian safe places as Shields. It is deplorable that this is allowed to continue whilst the State of Israel makes every attempt to ensure the safety of the civilians under terrorist rule in Gaza
Johan Steyn 2014-08-03 08:16:30 PM
The UN is partly responsible to leave the children in the Gaza area after Israel warned them to take them out. Who in their right minds would leave their children in an area of war. As specially the UN who have a choice other than Palestine who may not. Sorry UN, this one is on you. You know better than anybody that you better get your @sses out of there and not use kids to manipulate the situation.
Avi Stein 2014-08-03 08:23:04 PM
Mark regev puppets commenting..blah blah bs bs bs...
Jacqueline Kahlberg Steiner 2014-08-03 08:23:42 PM
Perhaps the UN Should be more verbal about terrorists using civilians and civilian safe places as Shields. It deplorable that this is allowed to continue, whilst the State of Israel makes every effort to ensure the safety of the civilians living under terrorist rule in Gaza.
Mohammed Mian 2014-08-03 08:24:24 PM
From both Western & Arab media/reports, there is no proof that Hamas uses schools/hospitals as rocket storage or humanitarian shields. Hamas has been democratically elected by the Palestinians in Gaza & are defending their people/land from the genocide & ethnic cleansing of the israeli zionists. So stop filling people's minds with false reasons for bombing the UN school.
Johan Steyn 2014-08-03 08:25:50 PM
In this case the UN used people, in fact children as shields... Same as What Hamas is accused of. To give locations of bases is never a good idea in war. Very unwise of the UN. What is the job of the UN again?
Mohammed Salajee 2014-08-03 08:29:24 PM
Is it ok for Israel to have rockets but not Gaza? So Israel also terrorist??????