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UN school in Gaza caught in the cross hairs, leaving 15 dead

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Zach McAuliffe is a University of Dayton alumni with degrees in journalism and English. He wants to present people with all the facts they need to make informed decisions on the world around them. He also enjoys Shakespeare and long walks on the beach with his puppy Lily.

As violence continues to escalate between Israeli forces and those of Hamas in Gaza, a UN backed school has reportedly been shelled by Israeli tanks, leaving 15 dead and about 200 wounded.

The school was in a coastal area of Gaza known as Beit Hanoun, which has been known to be a dangerous region since the fighting began.  Civilians had fled the region so they could find shelter and escape the fighting between the IDF and Hamas.  Of those killed and injured, all are believed to be civilians.

Valerie Amos, the UN Under-Secretary-General for humanitarian affairs, said, according to the Independent, “People are sheltering in UN schools which as a result cannot be used for education. They are running out of food, and water is also a serious concern.”

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This strike comes amongst a day of heavy fighting throughout Gaza.  The fighting was sparked by a demand by Hamas for Israel and Egypt to lift the blockade around Gaza, according to the Guardian.

Spokesman for the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), Chris Gunness made a tweet, according to the Ma’an News Agency, saying, “Precise co-ordinates of the UNRWA shelter in Beit Hanoun had been formally given to the Israeli army.”

A contact in the Israeli military told Al-Jazeera the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were not necessarily responsible, but the IDF had detected rocket fire from Hamas in the area.  This same contact said those detected rockets could have fallen short and hit the school.

This is the fourth UN facility to be hit in the fighting since the Israeli operation began on July 8.

Director of UNRWA, Robert Turner, said, in relation to all of the facilities caught in the line of fire, “We always call on all parties to ensure that civilians are not harmed.”

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