Attack Outside UN School a Criminal Act: Ban

UN chief Ban Ki-moon today described the attack outside a UN administered school in Rafah that killed around ten Palestinian civilians as a "criminal act".

"It is a moral outrage and a criminal act. United Nations shelters must be safe zones not combat zones," Ban said while condemning the shelling outside UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) school.

The UN Secretary General said that the resurgence in fighting in the Gaza strip is exacerbating the man-made humanitarian and health crisis.

"The attack is yet another gross violation of international humanitarian law, which clearly requires protection by both parties of Palestinian civilians, UN staff and UN premises, among other civilian facilities," the statement issued by Ban's spokesman said.

Ban noted that such attacks on refuge centers should stop immediately and the incidents be thoroughly investigated upon.

He added that the Israel Defence Forces have been repeatedly informed of the location of UN sites that are providing shelter to civilians.

"This madness must stop. Similar attacks on UN-administered schools must be swiftly investigated and those responsible held accountable," Ban said in the statement.

Repeating his demand to the parties to immediately end the fighting and return to the path of peace, Ban said that "restoring calm can be achieved through resumption of the ceasefire and negotiations by the parties in Cairo to address the underlying issues."

"The Secretary-General is profoundly dismayed over the appalling escalation of violence and loss of hundreds of Palestinian civilian life since the breach of the humanitarian ceasefire on August 1," the UN statement said.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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