UN official says no fighters in Israel-shelled Gaza school

The head of the UN agency in Gaza running the school that was attacked by Israel forces has rejected claims that Hamas fighters were inside the converted shelter.

UN official says no fighters in Israel-shelled Gaza school
The Israeli military accused Hamas of using civilians sheltering inside the building as "human shields" and said its troops had returned fire after fighters fired mortars at their positions from within al-Fakhora school in the Jabaliya refugee camp.

John Ging, director of operations in Gaza for UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, told reporters at U.N. headquarters by videolink that he had visited the Jabalya school during a three-hour lull in fighting on Wednesday.

"I was reassured by the management of the school, my own staff, senior, experienced, long-serving staff, that there were no militants in the school," Ging said.

"I am very confident now that there was no militant activity inside the school nor militants in the school," Ging said, reiterating a call for an independent investigation.

"If anybody has evidence to the contrary, then let's bring it forward," Ging said.

He also reiterated a call for an independent investigation into the incident.

John Holmes, the top U.N. humanitarian official, told the same news conference the latest casualty figures from the school were 43 dead and 100 injured.

The casualties included people who had taken refuge inside the school and residents of nearby buildings.

At least 700 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza and nearly 3,085 wounded since Israel's military offensive began on December 27.

Last Mod: 08 Ocak 2009, 09:01
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