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At least 10 die at refugee camp; Israel, Hamas trade blame in Gaza hospital strike

JERUSALEM — There was bloodshed at a Gaza hospital and a refugee camp Monday, Israel and Gaza authorities confirmed. Gaza’s Health Ministry said at least 10 children were killed in the camp strike.

Hamas-run television aired Monday what it said were live images from Shifa Hospital after an Israeli drone made a “direct” strike.

The Israel Defense Forces sent a text message to media blaming “failed rocket attacks launched by Gaza terrorists” for the attack on Shifa and another spot nearby, Al-Shati Refugee Camp. Those injured at the camp, along Gaza’s coast, were taken to Shifa, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

A Shifa doctor also told to CNN that at least 10 children from the camp died, a number that Gaza Health Ministry confirmed.

The ministry told CNN that two people were injured in the hospital strike.

In Israel, the country’s rescue services said two Israelis were severely wounded when a mortar shell struck the Eshkol region.

More than 1,000 people have been killed in the conflict putting Israel against Hamas.

The United Nations said a halt in violence would allow urgently needed assistance to reach Gaza. At a midnight meeting, the U.N. Security Council proclaimed its support for “a comprehensive peace based on the vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace with secure and recognized borders as envisioned in Security Council resolution 1850 (2008).”

That fell short of Palestinian Ambassador Riyah Mansour’s desires. He wanted the body to pass a resolution calling for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.

“The equation is simple,” Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor said. “When it is quiet in Israel, it will be quiet in Gaza.”

Back to fighting

The violence came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN on Sunday that he hopes for sustained calm “as soon as possible.”

U.S. President Barack Obama had another phone conversation with Netanyahu on Sunday, underscoring the administration’s “strong condemnation” of Hamas attacks and reaffirming “Israel’s right to defend itself,” the White House said. The President reiterated concern about the rising Palestinian civilian deaths, Israeli deaths and the “worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza.”

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the country was maintaining an “unlimited humanitarian cease-fire,” saying that Israeli troops fire only when they are attacked.

But later Monday, the Israeli military in Gaza “came under attack when mortars were fired at them,” the IDF said, and the Israeli air force has resumed airstrikes on terrorist targets across Gaza.

A central goal of Israel’s military is to destroy tunnels that Hamas uses to smuggle weapons and launch attacks.

CNN’s “New Day” asked chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat what the tunnels are used for.

“I know the situation is so much complex — I’m not saying I know the picture as a whole,” he responded. But, he said, Gaza is now like a burning building. “We need to get the people out, and then we need to extinguish the fire, and then we sit down and talk.”

Erekat called for Israel to pull troops out of Gaza.

Israel isn’t acting in self-defense, he said. “They’re the occupying power. They should be responsible for the human lives there.”

Erekat said U.N. figures show “90% of those killed are women and children.”

It was unclear what he was basing those figures on. The United Nations estimates that more than 70% of the Palestinians killed were civilians, including 226 youths and 117 women. More than 150 were members of armed groups, the United Nations says.

UNICEF said Monday that about two-thirds of the children killed were 12 years old or younger.

Israel blames Hamas for civilian deaths, saying militants encourage people to stay in their homes despite Israeli warnings that strikes are coming. Militants also use civilian facilities such as homes, schools, mosques and hospitals to launch attacks on Israeli civilians and store weapons.

Israel, meanwhile, has reported far more “terrorists” killed in Gaza than Palestinian officials have reported.

Israel says 43 of its troops and three civilians have been killed in the conflict, including a few soldiers by friendly fire.

The country’s Iron Dome missile defense system has thwarted many rockets that could have caused untold civilian casualties in Israeli population centers.

Israel: We’re not responsible for Gaza school deaths

The Israeli military said it was not responsible for anyone killed last week when an “errant Israeli mortar” hit the courtyard of a U.N. school that was shelter to many Gaza residents.

U.N. and Palestinian officials said 16 people were killed and hundreds were wounded Thursday when the school in northern Gaza was struck.

Israel Defense Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said militants had fired anti-tank missiles from the immediate area of the school, and the IDF fired several mortar shells back in that direction.

“A single errant Israeli mortar landed in the courtyard in the school,” Lerner said. “The footage we have shows the courtyard was empty.”

“We reject the claim that people were killed by the IDF mortar on the school premises,” he added. But Lerner said there could have been people who were wounded by shrapnel.

When asked how Israel could know whether people were killed versus injured in the school yard, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said the incident was tragic.

“First of all, what happened at the school was a tragedy. Innocent people were killed,” said the spokesman, Mark Regev. “The question is who is responsible, and for that we have to look at seriously and judiciously and make sure we get to the truth.”

A CNN team that visited the shelter several hours after the mortar attack saw evidence that people were badly wounded at the courtyard.

The team saw blood and strewn possessions concentrated close to the edge of the courtyard along the wall of the building, the area that would have been shady around 3 p.m. when the school was hit.

The IDF released a high-altitude aerial video of the round hitting the school, but it did not have high resolution and it is impossible to tell if anybody was sitting on the courtyard edge.

CNN has asked the IDF for a higher-resolution version of the video, as well as a version that includes a time stamp.

The team also saw a shrapnel field ranging from a few inches above the ground to the top of the main three-story school building, with the blast field extending down the corridor of the main school building.

Security experts that CNN consulted said the shallow point of detonation was consistent with a mortar round set to “airburst,” meaning it would explode a few feet above the ground to maximize enemy casualties.

Trademark and Copyright 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


Filed in: News

3 comments

  • Robbie

    Level Palestine once and for all! All they want is war so pour it on Israel! Hamas has no regard for human rights much less life so I say…Allah, stock paradise with plenty of virgins because Israel is is coming.

    • Robbie is a scholar.

      so robbie, you’ve been there and seen it yourself? somehow i don’t believe that you have. that would explain why your comment is insensitive, incorrect and vacuous.

      • Robbie

        You go to hell! Anytime a religion preaches that it’s ok to strap a bomb on a child and send them to blow up innocent people, wipe em out. You want to hug em, slobber all over em and kiss em that’s fine with me. Be sure to duck though!

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