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At least 15 Gazans dead in shelling on U.N. school sheltering civilians

A young Palestinian child wounded in shelling at a U.N-run school sheltering Palestinian refugees, is treated  at a hospital in the northern Gaza Strip on July 24, 2014.  (Emad Nassar/Flash90)

A young Palestinian child wounded in an earlier shelling at a U.N-run school sheltering Palestinian refugees, is treated at a hospital in the northern Gaza Strip on July 24, 2014. (Emad Nassar/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — At least 15 Palestinians were killed in shelling on a United Nations school in the Jabaliya refugee camp, which is serving as a shelter for Gazans displaced from their homes in the current conflict.

The shelling occurred early on Wednesday morning on the school in Gaza City, where 3,300 people have taken shelter, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. It is the sixth time that a UN school has been hit in the current conflict, according to the UNRWA.

Israel Defense Forces spokespersons have told reporters that initial reports show that Israeli soldiers came under fire from the area of the school and fired mortar shells back at the source of the attack.

The UNRWA said in a statement that after gathering evidence at the site in the hours after the incident, its initial assessment is that Israeli artillery hit the school.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces,” UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said in the statement. “I call on the international community to take deliberate international political action to put an immediate end to the continuing carnage.”

“Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN-designated shelter in Gaza. Children killed in their sleep; this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced,” Krahenbuhl said.

In a posting on Twitter, the U.N. spokesman quoted Ban Ki-moon. the U.N. secretary general, as saying there is “nothing more shameful than attacking sleeping children.”

The Palestinian death toll in Israel’s 23-day operation in Gaza stands at more than 1,280 according to Gaza’s health ministry.

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