The bombing of a UN school in Gaza killed 30, including children, who Hamas often use as human shields. Pictures of dead children in the Israel Air Force bombing of two United Nations schools in Gaza Tuesday afternoon have put Israel in a tough position as Hamas calls on the U.N. and the international community to halt the Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign.
The death toll in the attack is liable to rise. International media have headlined the incident, along with pictures of children buried under rubble. Hamas terrorists often hide in hospitals, mosques and schools.
The U.N. used the school to shelter children, but Voice of Israel government radio said that eyewitnesses saw Hamas terrorists pull little children by their ears to use them as shields. Virtually none of the media reports noted the exploitation of children.
The IDF later explained that the army hit the school because Hamas terrorists were firing mortar shells from inside the building. See IDF video of Hamas using the same UN school to fire mortars on a previous occasion.
A similar incident in the Second Lebanon War, in which the Air Force bombed a school, erased any support that Israel was receiving in the war against Hizbullah and provided the momentum to force a ceasefire.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) told reporters that it gave Israel the locations of its installations in Gaza, including the elementary school that was bombed on Tuesday.
CNN quoted UNRWA director John Ging, as saying that "everybody here is terrorized by the situation [and] "there is no place that you can be safe if you're a civilian here."
Hamas also is using the "humanitarian card" in its campaign to force a halt in the counterterrorist operations, which outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has insisted will continue until Israel is assured there will be no return to previous one-sided ceasefires.