The Associated Press
Stray Israeli gunfire hit a U.N. school in the northern Gaza Strip, wounding two children, including a 7-year-old boy who was hit in the head as he sat at his desk, United Nations officials said Sunday, but Israel denied involvement.
The U.N. Relief and Works Agency appealed for protection of civilians in the Gaza Strip after Saturday's shooting. "At present, children are not safe even in United Nations classrooms. We urgently need a solution," said John Ging, the agency's Gaza field director.
The military said there was no Israeli army activity in the area The spokesman's office said a thorough investigation showed there was no Israeli gunfire in that area on Saturday.
Hospital officials said the boy, Ahmed Abdel-Aziz, suffered slight wounds above his eye. Minutes later, a 12-year-old girl was shot in the leg as students were being evacuated from the building.
Hospital officials said both children were in good condition. The boy returned home on Sunday, while the girl was still recovering after the bullet was removed from her leg, they said. At the school, officials showed a picture of the boy with a bullet near his eyebrow.
The shooting occurred at a U.N. elementary school in Beit Lahiya, a town in northern Gaza, where Israeli troops have been operating in recent days.
"Both bullets entered the school from the north, and Israeli tanks were stationed on a hill 1.5 kilometers (one mile) north of the school," an UNRWA statement said.
UNRWA is the main U.N. agency that provides food, housing, education and health care to Palestinian refugees in Gaza, the West Bank and neighboring countries. The agency runs 187 schools serving 194,000 students in Gaza.
UNRWA officials frequently criticize Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel has long accused UNRWA — and the United Nations generally — of bias against it.