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News Report, Geneva, 4 October 2004
GENEVA: The UN agency for Palestinian refugees yesterday accused the Israeli army of taking over schools in the Gaza Strip, while children were still in class, and using them as firing positions for tanks.
“They have now taken positions in these three schools and are using them as a military camp for their ongoing campaign, using them also as firing positions,” UN Refugee Works Agency (UNRWA) spokesman Matthias Burchard said in Geneva. He said Israeli tanks broke down the walls of three schools in the Jabaliyah refugee camp on Thursday while children were in class.
The Israeli army killed 10 Palestinians in Gaza yesterday as it poured tanks and soldiers into the coastal strip, expanding a ground offensive intended to root out militants firing rockets into Israeli towns.
Palestinian officials said dozens of tanks pushed into north Gaza while more forces massed on the border.
The offensive was directed at refugee camps in northern Gaza, which the army said was where the rockets were fired from. Gunbattles raged through most of the day in Jabalya camp. Army bulldozers ploughed through houses to clear paths for forces as troops made their way through the camp’s booby-trapped streets.
An Israeli missile strike in the camp killed a member of Hamas as he tried to fire a rocket. The attack also injured another gunman and six civilians.
The Arab League condemned the Israeli military’s latest operation in Gaza, saying it would only lead to more bloodshed, the Mena reported. They also criticised the Middle East peace quartet of the UN, the EU, the US and Russia for not speaking out against the Israeli operation.