Gaza Death Toll Tops 1300

Israeli forces' flares light up the night sky of Gaza City on early Tuesday, July 29, 2014. UN Photo/Shareef Sarhan
Israeli forces' flares light up the night sky of Gaza City on early Tuesday, July 29, 2014. UN Photo/Shareef Sarhan

Israel Says Hamas Tunnels Will Go “With or without Ceasefire

NEW YORK – INTERNATIONAL – Another United Nations school serving as a shelter for Palestinians in Gaza was hit by shells Wednesday morning. The attack that killed children led to senior UN officials strongly condemning the attacks and warning against the targeting of civilians.

“Nothing is more shameful than attacking sleeping children,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said immediately upon his arrival in San Jose, Costa Rica, for an official visit. “I condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms. It is outrageous. It is unjustifiable. And it demands accountability and justice.”

The United Nations has condemned the efforts of Israel during this latest offensive, but those condemnations have not impacted or changed Israeli military operations.

Israeli Prime MinisterBenjamin Netanyahu states, “We are determined to finish this mission and will do so with or without a ceasefire”.

Israeli forces' flares light up the night sky of Gaza City on early Tuesday, July 29, 2014. UN Photo/Shareef Sarhan
Israeli forces’ flares light up the night sky of Gaza City on early Tuesday, July 29, 2014. UN Photo/Shareef Sarhan

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Commissioner General, Pierre Krähenbühl, echoed the condemnation calling the attack “an affront to all of us; a source of universal shame.”

According to an initial assessment, Israeli artillery on at least three occasions hit an UNRWA school where 3,300 people were seeking refuge. While the agency says it is too early to provide a death toll, there are at least 16 civilians believed to be dead, and several, including to women and children, and to UNRWA guards trying to protect the site.

“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, to ensure its protection,” stated Krähenbühl, “the last being at ten to nine last night, just hours before the fatal shelling.”

“I call on the international community to take deliberate international political action to put an immediate end to the continuing carnage,” Krähenbühl added.

In New York, speaking to reporters, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson urged those involved in the conflict to “put people first” and see the high price civilians are paying and the horror of what is happening.

“To me, this is a moment when you really have to say ‘enough is enough’,” declared Eliasson, “You have to search for the right words to convince those who have the power to stop this.”

On the Ground in Gaza

Answering the call after Israeli air strikes in Gaza. Inside emergency workers find a man trying to put out the fire. They also found a dead body. Wednesday has brought yet more anguish to Gaza…with Israeli shelling and air strikes killing at least 90 people, bring the death toll here close to 1300. Children are among the injured — a reality their loved ones struggle to comprehend.

And it wasn;’t just rockets rainig down on Gaza. At one point — a flurry of leaflets —- dropped by the Israeli military. Written in Arabic, they warn locals about impending military action — urging residents to turn in Hamas fighters and report weapons caches. Most Gazans are contemptuous of the message.

Gaza resident Hamdi al Harazin said,”This doesn’t mean anything to me. It doesn’t shake me one bit.”FILES: DAILY MOTION / REUTERS