At Least 16 Palestinians Killed in Israeli Strike on School Shelter

At least 16 Palestinians were killed by Israeli shelling on a school being used as a shelter today. The U.N., which has been operating the shelter, says this is the third time a school shelter has been hit in the 16-day conflict. The AP has published photos of children injured in the attack (like the one above).

A Palestinian medic told Buzzfeed, "We are still pulling people from the rubble. They are being sent to hospitals nearby, but it is hard to evacuate them since they, the Israelis, are still firing nearby."

The school was hit after some kind of miscommunication between Israel and U.N. Relief and Works Agency. An UNRWA spokesperson said that the agency tried to coordinate with Israeli forces so civilians could leave the area before the shelling, but "the request was never granted." Here's the IDF's statement:

[The incident happened] in the midst of combat with Hamas terrorists in the area of Beit Hanoun, who are using civilian infrastructure and international symbols as human shields. In the course of the afternoon, several rockets launched by Hamas from within the Gaza Strip landed in the Beit Hanoun area.

Robert Turner, who's in charge of Gaza operations for UNRWA, told The New York Times,

"We're extremely concerned now that if this trend continues we will see a mass casualty event. ... It would take just one errant shell into one of these institutions to have major casualties. They are packed and the people came there specifically seeking refuge because they feel safer in a U.N. installation.

The Palestinian death toll has now topped 700.

[Image via AP]