Gaza toll hits 788 as 15 killed at UN school

AFP

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Israeli fire hits UN facility in Gaza, killing 15

Israeli fire hits UN facility in Gaza, killing 15

Israeli fire hits UN facility in Gaza, killing 15

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Israeli fire hits UN facility in Gaza, killing 15

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Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - Fifteen people were killed Thursday when Israeli fire hit a UN-run school in Gaza, as the Palestinian toll on the 17th day of the conflict rose to 788, medics said.

Emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said at least 15 people had been killed and 200 wounded by Israeli shelling of a school run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in the northern town of Beit Hanun, where hundreds had sought refuge from the violence.

He gave no immediate details of those killed, but an AFP correspondent reported that a mother and her one-year-old infant were among the dead brought into a nearby mortary.

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon said: "Many have been killed -- including women and children, as well as UN staff."

A later air strike between the southern cities of Rafah and Khan Yunis killed seven people, the "majority of them children" from three different families, Qudra said.

He gave the names and ages of three of the children -- Mahmud Abedin, 12, Nabeel al-Astal, 12, and Ashraf al-Najjar, 13 -- but no further details.

The deaths raised Thursday's toll in Gaza to 93, according to Qudra's figures, with 788 killed in total and more than 5,000 wounded.

Those numbers do not include more than a dozen Palestinian militants killed after infiltrating southern Israel since the conflict began on July 8.

Among those killed on Thursday were seven who died in air strikes and tank fire in and around Khuzaa near Khan Yunis in southern Gaza.

Five people from the Abu Daqqa family were killed along with two from the Najjar family, Qudra told AFP.

Areas east of Khan Yunis near the Israeli border have come under heavy bombardment in recent days, with emergency services trying to coordinate with the Red Cross to gain access to evacuate civilians.

"We have been receiving dozens of appeals from residents of Khuzaa, Abasan and Bani Suheila in Khan Yunis asking us to evacuate them, and saying there were a lot of people killed and injured underneath the rubble of their houses," Qudra said.

So far, 32 Israeli soldiers have been killed since the beginning of the conflict, along with two Israeli civilians and one Thai farm worker.

The army's losses are its heaviest since a 2006 war with Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

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