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Israel Says Deadly Firing on U.N. School Prompted by Militants

Militants fired at Israeli forces near the school, which provoked IDF to respond by sending mortars, Israel said Sunday.
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The Israeli Army said Sunday that their investigation into the shelling of a U.N. school that left 15 dead concluded that militants were firing from near the school, which prompted Israeli soldiers to send mortars in that direction. “The [Israel Defense Force] rejects the claims that were made by various officials immediately following the incident, that people were killed in the school premises as a result of IDF operational activity,” a statement said. A “single errant mortar” landed in the school’s “completely empty” courtyard, but Israel did not, and would not, target international organizations on the Gaza Strip, the IDF statement said.

Witnesses on the scene Thursday described the courtyard as being bloodied and littered with books and belongings. UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness called the attack “a flagrant violation of international law” on Sunday and dispelled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claims that Hamas could have been firing from the school. “We have said that all sides have to respect the neutrality of U.N. compounds,” Gunness said.