BEIRUT

Middle East

Cameron: UN 'right' to condemn Gaza school strike

Smoke rises from Palestinian houses following an Israeli military strike on the Israeli-Gaza border August 3, 2014. (AFP Photo/Thomas Coex)

LONDON: British Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday that the United Nations was "right" to condemn the shelling of a U.N. school in Gaza, but declined to say whether it breached international law.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the attack on a school in Rafah Sunday, which killed 10 Palestinians who were sheltering there, was a "moral outrage and a criminal act."

Cameron told the BBC: "The U.N. has spoken very clearly and I think they're right to speak very clearly.

International law is clear that it's completely wrong and illegal to target civilians, if that's what's happened."

Asked if he believed that international law had been broken, the prime minister said: "I'm not an international lawyer, so it's up to the international lawyers.

"But international law is very, very clear that the use of force always has to be proportionate, that civilians should not be targeted."

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Sunday he was "appalled" at the civilian casualties caused by the attack on the U.N.-run school.

The strike has sparked world outrage, with the United States calling for a "full and prompt" investigation and France saying it was "unacceptable."

Earlier Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said "Israel does not aim its fire at civilians and is sorry for any attack that unintentionally hits civilians," without directly addressing the attack on the school.

Israel announced it was holding its fire in most of Gaza for seven hours Monday between 0700 GMT and 1400 GMT except the area east of Rafah.

 

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