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UN: IDF officers admitted Gaza school shelling was by mistake
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1.8.2009

By Barak Ravid and Akiva Eldar, Haaretz Correspondent.

The United Nations is claiming Israeli military officers have admitted the tank firing on the UNRWA school in Gaza, in which dozens of Palestinians were killed, was an error.

In addition, UNRWA Thursday announced it will cease activities in the Strip due to the death of an UNRWA staffer in an IDF shelling during Thursday morning's humanitarian hiatus.

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told Haaretz yesterday that the army had conceded wrongdoing.

"In briefings senior [Israel Defense Forces] officers conducted for foreign diplomats, they admitted the shelling to which IDF forces in Jabalya were responding did not originate from the school," Gunness said. "The IDF admitted in that briefing that the attack on the UN site was unintentional."

He noted that all the footage released by the IDF of militants firing from inside the school was from 2007 and not from the incident itself.

"There are no up-to-date photos," Gunness said. "In 2007, we abandoned the site and only then did the militants take it over."

The UNRWA is now demanding an objective investigation into whether the school shelling constituted a violation of international humanitarian law, and if so, that those responsible stand trial.

The UN reported Thursday that a Palestinian working for the UNRWA was killed by an IDF tank shell while driving an aid truck at the Erez border crossing. The organization claims the UN truck was well-marked and the incident took place during the humanitarian hiatus slated to allow Gaza residents to acquire supplies


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