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New Israeli strike kills 40 in UN school

Press TV - At least 40 people have been killed in a new Israeli attack on a school run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian medics said most of the victims were people who had taken refuge inside the school, in the northern town of Jabaliya, on Tuesday.

Several dozen people were also wounded in the strike.

Earlier in the day, Israeli forces hit two UN-run schools, one of which was crowded with refugees, in the Gaza Strip.

Israel has launched a massive military campaign on Gaza, one of the most densely-populated areas in the world, to stop the rocket attacks on southern Israel.

As the result of ten days of uninterrupted fighting, the situation of Gaza civilians is "extreme and traumatic", said head of operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross, Pierre Kraehenbuehl.

In retaliation, Hamas, the democratically-elected government of Gaza, has continued its attacks on Israeli cities and towns, killing 13 Israeli and wounding dozens.

The fighting has created a chaos in Gaza, where hospitals are under-equipped as the result of an 18-month Israeli blockade on the impoverished region.

A senior UN official said, after visiting a Gaza hospital on Tuesday, the "horrific tragedy" in the region is getting "worse moment after moment".

I'm shocked by what I've seen and heard, this is the point where the inhumanity is visible and shocking in terms of the nature of injuries, the brutality of the injuries the scale of the injuries," said John Ging, who heads the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since the Hamas movement won a majority in the 2006 Palestinian election and took control of the area in mid-June 2007.

111 children have been killed in Israel's war on Gaza

So far at least 111 children have been in the Israeli blitz on the Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical officials say.

Gaza health officials say that since the onslaught began on Dec. 27 more than 550 Palestinians have been killed and 2,500 wounded.

Televised images of wounded and murdered civilians, especially children, have caused outrage across the world, especially the Islamic world.

Eleven members of one family, including five children, were killed in a northern Gaza City neighborhood early Monday morning after Israeli soldiers ordered them to leave their home, medical officials said.

Civilian deaths are likely to rise as the Israeli forces move in on the narrow city streets and refugee camp alleys.

"Usually you have people trying to flee the area of conflict," said John Ging, the head of the United Nations refugee agency in the Gaza Strip. "But they don't have this choice in Gaza because they are trapped in a very, very densely populated area."

Backed by the U.S., the Israeli leaders have so far refused international calls to stop the war on the densely populated, starved and besieged coastal strip.

On Monday, Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert rebuffed pleas by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and a European delegation to call a temporary halt to war to head off a deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

On Saturday, the U.S. blocked an effort by the UN Security Council to issue a statement calling for a ceasefire.

UN humanitarian chief John Holmes has called the Gaza strife an "increasingly alarming" humanitarian crisis. He said Gaza is running low on clean water, power, food, medicine and other supplies since Israel began its offensive.

The Israeli army is pounding Gaza from the air, land, and sea.

A three-person European Union delegation also met Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni Monday to call for an immediate cease-fire.

"We are not sharing the view that the cease-fire is only possible if all possible aims of the Israeli action are achieved," said Karel Schwarzenberg , the foreign minister of the Czech Republic , which became the leader of the 27-member body last week.

According to the Time magazine, since Israel began a ground offensive on Saturday night, most of the dead and wounded arriving at Shifa Hospital in Gaza are civilians, as Israel's offensive shifts from airstrikes to artillery shelling and fighting close to densely populated areas.

An Associated Press reporter also said that all the injured brought to Shifa on Monday were civilians. Shifa is the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip.

Israel claims it is targeting only the Hamas fighters. But the 550 Palestinians who have been killed include at least 200 civilians, according to Dr. Moaiya Hassanein of the Gaza Health Ministry.

On Monday, 20 children between the ages of 2 and 15 were killed, he said. Since the military offensive began Dec. 27, three Israeli civilians have been killed.

In fighting that raged early Tuesday morning, at least 18 people were killed in shelling up and down the strip, local hospital officials said. Only two could be confirmed as militants, AP reported.

Three brothers died in an attack on a town outside Gaza City, a Gaza health official said. They were carried to a cemetery in an emotional funeral. One of them, Issa Samouni, 3, was wrapped in a white cloth, showing only his pale, yellow face. A man delicately placed him in a dark grave cut into the earth.

... Payvand News - 01/06/09 ... --

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