24 جولائی، 2014

Gaza crisis: Israeli strike on compound housing UN school kills at least 15 - live


  • Hundreds sought shelter at compound; many wounded
  • Fourth report of strike on a UN facility since conflict began
  • Israel says it was responding to fire
  • More than 140,000 Gazans displaced, UN says
  • US says Israel 'could take additional steps to prevent civilian casualties'

US secretary of state John Kerry, in Cairo, has been diligently working the phones trying to negotiate a Gaza ceasefire, Harf says, having spoken multiple times today with diplomats in Europe, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Qatar, the UAE and elsewhere.


Harf is asked whether the US condemns the attack on the UNRWA school. She says she has already said the US is very concerned.


"We are still looking into all the facts," Harf says. "Let's not jump to conclusions before we have all the facts."

Palestinians sit at a hospital in the northern Gaza  Israel-Gaza conflict, Gaza Strip, Palestinian Territories - 24 Jul 2014.
Palestinians sit at a hospital in the northern Gaza Israel-Gaza conflict, Gaza Strip, Palestinian Territories - 24 Jul 2014. Photograph: APAimages/REX
A Palestinian boy lies on a bed at a hospital in the northern Gaza Israel-Gaza conflict, Gaza Strip, Palestinian Territories - 24 Jul 2014.
A Palestinian boy lies on a bed at a hospital in the northern Gaza Israel-Gaza conflict, Gaza Strip, Palestinian Territories - 24 Jul 2014. Photograph: APAimages/REX
A Palestinian woman lies at a hospital in the northern Gaza  Israel-Gaza conflict, Gaza Strip, Palestinian Territories - 24 Jul 2014
A Palestinian woman lies at a hospital in the northern Gaza Israel-Gaza conflict, Gaza Strip, Palestinian Territories - 24 Jul 2014 Photograph: APAimages/REX
State department spokesperson Marie Harf reiterates the Psaki statement on the attack on the UNRWA shelter.
"We are deeply saddened and concerned at the tragic incident at the UNRWA school and at the rising civilian death toll in Gaza," she says.
Matt Lee of the AP asks Harf about the Israeli argument that the facility would be a legitimate target if it's a place where weapons are kept or from which attacks are launched.
If a warning had been given by the Israeli military to evacuate the shelter, but it remained full, is it still a legitimate target? Lee asks.
I'm happy to check with our legal folks, Matt. I don't wan't to make a legal judgment from the podium," Harf says.
She's asked whether the US state department believes Israel is taking care to prevent civilian casualties.
We do but again as I said... we think they could take additional steps to prevent civilian casualties. We think that remains the case.
Updated 
A spokeswoman for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said a deadly Gaza school incident on Thursday in which at least 15 people seeking shelter were killed "underscores the need" for a ceasefire and resolution of the conflict, Reuters reports:
"This ... underscores the need to end the violence and to achieve a sustainable ceasefire and enduring resolution of the crisis in Gaza as soon as possible," said Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for Kerry, who is trying to secure a truce to curtail 17 days of fighting.
"We again urge all parties to redouble their efforts to protect civilians," she said.
A state department briefing with Marie Harf is scheduled to begin soon.
The Israeli military has put out a new statement about the strikes on the UNRWA shelter in Beit Hanoun today. The statement says rocket attacks were coming from the area and that the Israeli army "responded by targeting the source of the fire."
The IDF statement plants many variant explanations for the bloodshed at the school – including the assertion that Hamas stopped civilians from leaving the shelter, an assertion that contradicts UN statements and reporters' observations that Israeli fire had driven civilians from their homes to the shelter and that no place in Gaza is safe for civilians. The IDF statement says in part: 
In recent days, Hamas has fired rockets from an area of Beit Hanoun where an UNRWA shelter is located. Last night, we told Red Cross to evacuate civilians from UNRWA's shelter in Beit Hanoun btw 10 am & 2 pm. UNRWA & Red Cross got the message. Hamas prevented civilians from evacuating the area during the window that we gave them. Today Hamas continued firing from Beit Hanoun. The IDF responded by targeting the source of the fire. Also today, several rockets launched from Gaza toward Israel fell short and hit Beit Hanoun.


The Guardian UK 

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