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Israel shells UN schools in 11th day of offensive
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Israel pressed on with its airstrikes on the Gaza Strip on Tuesday by shelling houses and a school run by the United Nations, killing 82 Palestinians, the majority women and children, in the eleventh day of violence.

An Israeli air and ground strike on al-Fakhoura school run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in Jabalia refugee camp on Tuesday evening killed 46 people and wounded 150 others, medics said.

An Israeli armored personnel vehicle march towards the south of the Gaza Strip, January 6, 2009. Over 540 Palestinians have been killed and some 2,500 others injured in the Gaza Strip during Israel's Operation Cast Lead starting from December 27, 2008. [Yin Bogu/Xinhua]

The school is located in the center of Jabalia refugee camp, sheltering 200,000 refugees displaced by the ongoing Israeli offensive. According to UN officials, the school was directly targeted by the Israeli army.

Adnan Abu Hasna, UNRWA spokesman in Gaza, condemned the attack on the school, saying that "we have several times noted to the Israeli sides to avoid targeting our schools that shelter civilians."

A smoke column rises following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, January 6, 2009. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday rejected a European Union (EU) request for a 48-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, vowing to push ahead the offensive in the Gaza Strip till security is restored to southern regions of Israel. [Wissam Nassar/Xinhua] 

"In spite of rising the blue flag of UNRWA on our schools, the Israeli army has been targeting those schools by missiles and tanks shells," said Abu Hasna, adding "four of our schools were hit. The latest was al-Fakhoura school."

Israel's military said its shelling on the school in northern Gaza Strip was in response to mortar fire from within the school.

Meanwhile, an official statement issued by the Palestinian Health Ministry said that 42 civilians were killed in the tanks shelling of al-Fakhoura school in northern Gaza Strip.

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