Israeli military shelled a UN school in Gaza killing 20 people early today as Palestinian factions head to Cairo to discuss a temporary humanitarian ceasefire.
The shell slammed into the school in northern Gaza as the conflict between Israel and Hamas entered its 23rd day. The school was being used as a shelter for those displaced by fighting, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said. The shell hit the Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) girls' school in Jabalia refugee camp.
The incident occurred after 5:30 am (0230 GMT), and a couple of hours after Israeli tanks had begun heavy shelling in the area. It came as a Palestinian delegation prepared for a trip to Cairo to discuss a temporary humanitarian ceasefire. International efforts have so far failed to get Israel and Hamas to agree to a truce and start negotiations.
Meanwhile, 10 Israeli soldiers were killed yesterday, five of them in an attempted infiltration by militants into Israel via a cross-border tunnel from Gaza, raising the number of Israeli soldiers killed to 53 since the start of Operation Protective Edge on July 8. Three Israeli civilians have also died. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu termed it as "a difficult and painful day".
Calling life under the threat of death "inconceivable" for Israel, Netanyahu said the military will not end its incursion into Gaza until it has destroyed tunnels Hamas is using to attack civilians outside Gaza in an appeal to the citizens to prepare for a "prolonged" war. The region saw one of its bloodiest Eid days ever with 100 people killed in heavy Israeli bombardment of Gaza yesterday.
Israel's aerial, naval and artillery shelling has killed some 1,262 Palestinians in the bloodiest conflict in six years, and the vast majority of Palestinian dead are civilians, according to the UN The Israeli offensive, which began on July 8, has killed mostly civilians according to the UN and injured over 7,000.
The fighting has forced over 215,000 Gazans to flee their homes in the overcrowded coastal strip, the WHO said.