Israeli Shells Hit U.N. School Full Of Refugees In Gaza

Israeli Shells Hit U.N. School Full Of Refugees In Gaza
The shelling of a U.N. school housing thousands of refugees brought widespread condemnation against Israel, which said it fired at militants nearby.

​Widespread condemnation followed the shelling of a United Nations school in Gaza filled with refugees. The death toll varies by media outlet — anywhere from 15 Palestinians killed to 20.

MARTIN PATIENCE, BBC REPORTER: "There was more than 3,000 Palestinians. They were sheltering inside this school when, in his words, the school was hit by several explosions with absolutely no warning."

​​Those numbers from a BBC reporter on the ground in Gaza were according to a United Nations spokesman who also said, "The world stands disgraced."

The attack happened in the northern Gaza city of Jabaliya, which is not part of the 3-kilometer buffer zone Israel's military has warned Palestinians to evacuate. (Via United Nations)

​AYMAN MOHYELDIN, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: "It does give you a sense of the overall humanitarian situation that is worsening here. That even the places that people go thinking they will be safe or should be protected, they too are getting caught up in this violence."

The Israeli military says Hamas militants had fired mortars near the school, prompting Israeli defense forces to fire back. (Via The Jerusalem Post)

IDF has used this defense before saying Hamas routinely fires rockets from populated areas and uses civilians as human shields. Israel has also vowed to destroy all tunnels militants use leading out of Gaza.

On Tuesday, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency — which operates this latest school bombed — revealed workers found a cache of rockets in another school closed for the summer. That's the third case in recent weeks.

None of those revelations slowed criticism of Israel for the attack.

​​The UNRWA's commissioner general sent several outraged tweets Wednesday morning condemning Israel and calling the attack where women and children were sleeping "intolerable." (Via Twitter / @PKraehenbuehl)

The Gaza Health Ministry and the U.N. say in less than a month of fighting, 1,270 Palestinians have been killed — most of them civilians. More than 50 Israeli soldiers died. (Via CBS)

Hamas has pledged not to end fighting until its demands are met to lift an economic blockade that's crippled the Palestinian economy since 2006 and open Gaza's borders into Israel and Egypt.