*UN: no Hamas fighters at school bombed by Israel*Submitted by legalizeliberty on Wed, 01/07/2009 - 22:03
Israel – alone – bears responsibility of killing Palestinian civilians trying to take shelter in UN school.
JERUSALEM - The United Nations on Wednesday denied Israeli army allegations that resistance fighters were inside a school in Gaza that was hit the previous day by an Israeli strike, killing at least 42 people.
"Following an initial investigation, we are 99.9 percent sure that there were no militants or militant activities in the school and the school compound," said Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the UN refugee agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.
"We are calling for an independent investigation to establish the facts," he said. "If the rules of war had been broken those found guilty must be brought to justice."
France on Wednesday sharply criticised Israel's shelling of a UN-run school in the Gaza Strip, arguing that the bloodshed underlined the need for a rapid ceasefire.
"We learn with consternation of the shelling of a UNRWA school in Gaza, which killed several dozen civilians, including women and children, who had fled to escape the fighting," foreign ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier said.
On Tuesday, Israeli forces opened fire on a school operated by the UN refugee agency, killing at least 42 people.
Israel has accused Hamas fighters of hiding among civilians, a move that brought Israel even more scorn and criticism.
“The desperate (Palestinian) refugees who lost everything had hoped that hiding in a school belonging to the UN would give them at least some kind of refuge and save their children,” read a statement by Gush Shalom, the Israeli peace group.
“They did not know that even there a single shell would cut off dozens of lives in a single second. They did not know that facing them is an Israeli government running amok; charging headlong into the depth of the bloody mud of Gaza,” added the statement.