Israel-Gaza conflict: At least 15 killed and 160 wounded as crowded market is hit by strikes

The strike came during a partial four-hour ceasefire

Click to follow
The Independent Online

At least 15 people have been killed and more than 160 wounded after a crowded shopping area near Gaza City was hit by strikes, Palestinian officials say.

A busy fruit and vegetable stall was hit in Shejaiya, east of Gaza City, shortly after the Israeli military announced a limited four-hour humanitarian ceasefire in some parts of Gaza.

An IDF spokesperson had said the ceasefire would not apply to the areas in which the military are currently operating.

The ceasefire had been rejected by Hamas, with spokesperson Hamas Sami Abu Zuhri saying it lacked any "value" because it excluded border areas from where Hamas wanted to evacuate the wounded.

Earlier, the UN accused Israel of carrying out the strikes on a UN school after being warned civilians were staying there, killing 15 and injuring 125 people.

Thousands of Palestinians had sought refuge at the school following the heaviest night of strikes in three weeks of fighting that killed over 100 people after the Israeli Prime Minister warned of a “prolonged” military campaign.

In its most strongly-worded reaction to the conflict yet, the White House condemned the shelling of the school, and renewed appeals for a ceasefire on Wednesday evening.

Spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said the US is also extremely concerned" that thousands of Palestinians aren't safe in UN-designated shelters in Gaza, even though Israel's military has told them to evacuate their homes.

Ms Meehan said the US also condemned those responsible for hiding weapons in UN facilities in Gaza. She says the escalation shows the need for a cease-fire as soon as possible.

Video: The latest from Gaza

Kim Sengupta, The Independent's Defence and Diplomatic Correspondent, tweeted on Wednesday that he had recently visited the school in Jabaliya, where people were "convinced" the building would soon be hit.

The UNRWA said today it is at "breaking point" with over 200,000 displaced Palestinians seeking refuge in 85 of their shelters following calls by Israel for civilians to evacuate whole neighbourhoods before military operations.

The death toll has now reached almost 1,300 Palestinians and 56 Israelis since 8 July.