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Overnight Open Thread

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Kenneth1/06/2009 9:25:56 am PST

Conflicting reports on incident in Gaza:

U.N. official: 30 dead after Israeli strike near school

Three Israeli artillery shells struck near the perimeter of a U.N. school in northern Gaza on Tuesday, killing at least 30 people and wounding 55, a United Nations official said.

U.N. Relief and Works Agency Director John Ging said most of the casualties were outside the school in the Jabalya refugee camp.

“It’s a very built-up area, so of course it was entirely inevitable that if artillery shells landed in that area there would be a high number of casualties,” he said at a U.N. briefing from Gaza City.

But a report from Ian Deitch for AP, tells a different story:

Palestinians say Israeli raids near school kill 34

Palestinian medics said 34 people were killed in an Israeli strike outside a U.N. school in the northern Gaza town of Jebaliya. The United Nations confirmed 30 were killed and 55 injured.

An Israeli official says Palestinian militants fired on Israeli soldiers from the courtyard of a U.N. school where dozens of people died in fiery explosions.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he said the army is still drafting the country’s official response to the incident.

The Israeli official said “hostile fire” was directed at the soldiers from within the school. He said soldiers returned fire and multiple explosions went off, presumably emanating from munitions stored there.

John Ging, head of Gaza operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, said most of the casualties at the U.N. school in Jebaliya, where some 350 people had taken refuge, were outside the building. He did not say whether the artillery came from Israeli forces.

“Fiery explosions” sounds more like the secondary explosions of stored munitions. Artillery & missiles have high blast, low fire explosions.