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Airstrike on UN shelter in Gaza 
'a moral outrage'

A United Nations school sheltering displaced people in the southern Gaza Strip was hit by what a UN official said appeared to be an Israeli airstrike, an attack that killed 10 people as Israel signaled a possible scaling back in the ongoing war.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack near the Rafah school as both "a moral outrage and a criminal act".

The Israeli military had no immediate comment, though it confirmed it was redeploying along the Gaza border for a "new phase" of an operation aimed at stopping rocket fire toward Israel and destroying the Hamas underground tunnel network.

Several Israeli tanks and other vehicles were seen leaving Gaza a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested troops would reassess operations after completing the demolition of Hamas tunnels under the border. Security officials said the tunnel mission was winding down and Israel would soon be taking its troops out of the strip.

Shelling

However, in Gaza City, Israeli airstrikes and tank shelling continued. Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra said at least 10 people were killed and 35 wounded after the strike near the boys' school in Rafah, which had been providing shelter for some 3,000 people.

"The locations of all these installations have been passed to the Israeli military multiple times," said Robert Turner, the director of operations for the UN Palestinian refugee agency in Gaza. "They know where these shelters are. How this continues to happen, I have no idea. I have no words for it. I don't understand it."

Inside the UN school's compound, several bodies, among them children, were strewn across the ground in puddles of blood.

"Our trust and our fate is only in the hands of God!" one woman cried.

At least six UN facilities, including schools sheltering the displaced, have been struck by Israeli fire since the conflict began, drawing international condemnation. In each earlier case, Israel has said it was responding to militants launching rockets or other attacks from nearby.

In nearly four weeks of fighting, Palestinian health officials say more than 1,750 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed. Nearly 70 Israelis, almost all soldiers, have been killed.

Elsewhere, artillery shells slammed into two high-rise office buildings in downtown Gaza and large explosions could be heard seconds apart, police and witnesses said. Al-Kidra said more than 50 Palestinians were killed, including 10 members of one family in the southern Gaza Strip.

The bodies of the Al Ghoul family, killed early yesterday morning, were lined up on the floor of the Kuwaiti hospital in Rafah. Doctors wiped dried blood from the faces of three men. Outside the hospital, men and children shed tears while sobbing women cradled the smallest of the dead, kissing their faces.

Blood

In another room at the hospital, at least four children were piled into an ice cream freezer, all wrapped in white cloth drenched in blood. Doctors say that morgues in Rafah are at maximum capacity.

In Cairo, Egyptian and Palestinian negotiators held talks over a potential ceasefire. After accusing Hamas of repeatedly violating truce arrangements, Israel said it would not attend the talks and there was "no point" negotiating with the Islamic militant group.

What has it achieved?: Page 14


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