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Israeli forces shell UN school, killing mother and son. Gaza official toll reaches 1,205
MaanImages / Wissam Nassar
A Palestinian UN worker inspects at an UN-run school at Beit Lahiya in Northern Gaza Strip Jan. 17, 2009. At least four Palestinians were killed during an Israeli strike on the UN run school on Saturday morning, where civilians were sheltering from fighting, local medical sources and witnesses said

Date: 17 / 01 / 2009 Time: 10:41

Gaza Maan Israeli forces shelled a United Nations-run school in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing a mother and her young son.

According to witnesses several others were injured when Israeli rockets struck the school in Beit Lahiya. Tens of thousands of Gazans are sheltering in schools across the Strip run by the UNs relief agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

Israeli attacks continued across the Strip, even as the Israeli security cabinet prepared to endorse a ceasefire later on Saturday. At the Karama Towers in northern Gaza, Israeli warplanes dropped incendiary white phosphorus shells, killing three people. Palestinian medics say they found three completely burnt bodies covered in phosphorus.

Witnesses said Israeli forces targeted an apartment in a residential tower and that the inhabitants of the flat were torn to pieces.

Rising death toll

The head of Ambulances and Emergency Services in the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Dr Muawiya Hassanain said that 13 people have been killed in Gaza so far on Saturday, most of them as a result of phosphorus munitions. He said that a number of the bodies have been so badly burned that they cannot be identified.

The death toll in Gaza is now 1,205. Among them are 410 children, 108 women, 113 elderly people, and five foreign nationals.

Hassanain said that Israeli attacks have destroyed 15 clinics and damaged several ambulances.

Throughout the territory, especially in Gaza City, residents are reporting explosions and gunfire. Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian guerillas are ongoing.

After a day of relative calm on Friday, Gazans reported renewed shelling, particularly in the Gaza City neighborhoods of Tel Al-Hawa, Karama, and At-Tawam. Israeli warships fired on four Palestinians on the shore at Ash-Shati Refugee Camp.

In the early morning, Israeli artillery attacked the Taha Mosque, in eastern Jabaliya. Another Israeli strike targeted a group of Palestinian fighters in Beit Lahiya, although no one was reported killed or injured.

In Beit Lahiya, intense shelling hit the Ad-Duwar area, causing houses to go up in flames. A number of families were taken to Kamal Udwan Hospital with the help of UNRWA.

The south

Also in the early morning, Israeli forces shelled several places in and near Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Strip. Witnesses reported phosphorus bombs landing on the Al-Hasayneh area, west of An-Nusseirat. Several houses owned by the Muhadi family were hit with phosphorus munitions.

Medical sources also said on Saturday that two Palestinians were killed in Israeli shelling in the Al-Amour area south Gaza. Rescue workers recovered the bodies from near the Sufa border crossing, east of Rafah.

Palestinian medical crews recovered the bodies of two brothers who were killed by Israeli fire in the Al-Fakhari area east of Khan Younis on Saturday.

The dead were identified as Ibrahim Muhammad Sharab and Kassab Muhammad Sharab.Their father was wounded and was taken to a hospital.

Israeli warplanes lunched a rocket at the Al-Mawarej area in Rafah, also in southern Gaza. Warplanes also targeted Abu Al-Enen supermarket in Rafah with three rockets in addition to two houses in Al-Barahmeh area.

Israeli forces have been heavily bombing tunnels along the Egyptian border in Rafah, forcing hundreds to flee their homes.

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