washington post

washington post

Gaza Woman Explodes at Israeli Netanyahu for doing 'Responsible thing'

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At least 16 killed in attack on Gaza school, sparking massive protests in West Bank. (Washington Post) GAZA CITY —It was one of the worst scenes so far in a war that has put civilians in the crosshairs. A elementary school packed with hundreds of Palestinian evacuees seeking shelter under U.N. protection came under heavy fire Thursday, leaving 16 people dead and more than 100 wounded, including women, children and infants. The question now is who did it. A senior Israeli military spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, said Thursday night that “there was a possibility” shells from Israeli forces­ struck the U.N.-run school in the Gaza Strip. But he also suggested that Hamas mortars or rockets could have been responsible. The Israeli army was investigating the incident “to see what exactly caused the deaths and injuries,” he said. The bombing of the shelter was followed by more mayhem at a massive demonstration Thursday night, when thousands of Palestinians protesting the Israeli incursion in Gaza clashed with Israeli security forces at the Qalandia border checkpoint between Israel and the West Bank. At least two Palestinians were killed and scores were injured, protest leaders said. It was one of the largest protests in the West Bank in recent years, underscoring mounting Palestinian anger at Israel and the growing civilian casualties in the two-week-old Gaza conflict. As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan comes to an end and the conflict rages on, Israeli security officials are concerned that the West Bank and mostly Arab East Jerusalem could become arenas of violent protest This is the West Bank waking up and saying, ‘Gaza is not alone,’ ” Lina Ali, one of the protest’s organizers, said in a phone interview. Ambulance sirens could be heard in the background. “We stand by Gaza.” As protesters attempted to march from the West Bank city of Ramallah to Jerusalem, Israeli forces­ fired live rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowds, according to protest organizers. Early Friday, an Israeli military spokesman said as many as 10,000 protesters “were rioting violently.” They hurled “burning tires, Molotov cocktails, rocks and even fireworks” at soldiers and border police. After riot-dispersal measures failed, the spokesman said the soldiers fired live rounds into the crowds, killing at least one protester. The spokesman said the military was looking into the report of a second death. If the Israelis turn out to have fired the deadly salvo on the school in Gaza, international condemnation is likely to be heaped on the Jewish state, already under pressure from the Obama administration to end its 17-day offensive against Hamas, the militant Islamist movement that controls Gaza. If it turns out Hamas is responsible for killing its own people with errant rocket or mortar fire, as Israel initially suggested Thursday, then the group — already branded a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States and the European Union — could find itself even more isolated. Series of explosions Witnesses, still shaking from the horror of seeing a refuge turned into a charnel house, said the shelter was filled with families who had fled their homes to escape more than two weeks of heavy shelling in the northern Gaza Strip. As fighting raged around them Thursday morning, a series of explosions first struck the courtyard and then the school, which is run by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, known as UNRWA. U.N. Secr