GAZA CITY (USA Today) — Israeli tank shells on Wednesday were said to have struck a crowded United Nations school used by Gazans seeking refuge from a bloody conflict that has left at least 1,200 Palestinians dead, the majority of them civilians.
Wednesday's assault, reported by a U.N. official and a Palestinian health official, killed at least 15 people and wounded 90.
The Israeli army had no immediate comment but said it was checking the report.
Adnan Abu Hasna, a spokesman for the U.N. aid agency UNRWA, said the strike hit the U.N. school in the Jebaliya refugee camp. He said hundreds of Palestinians displaced by the conflict had sought shelter there from Israeli tank fire.
Fayez Abu Dayeh, the school's principal, said shells hit two classrooms and a bathroom. One of the shells tore a large round hole into the ceiling of a second floor class-room. Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra corroborated that account.
Israel claims that Hamas militants routinely use infrastructure such as mosques and schools to conceal weapons. Hamas says that Israel's military makes indiscriminate use of its overwhelming military power.
On Tuesday, Israel unleashed its heaviest air and artillery assault yet on Gaza, destroying key symbols of Hamas control and knocking out territory's only power plant. Diplomatic efforts to reach a cease-fire were unsuccessful.
Some 55 Israelis, mostly soldiers, have been killed since fighting broke out on July 8.
Contributing: Kim Hjelmgaard from London; Associated Press