UN chief: Strike on Gaza school a ‘criminal act’

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday blasted Israel after a strike in Gaza killed 10 people near a school, calling the attack a “moral outrage and criminal act.”

“United Nations shelters must be safe zones not combat zones. The Israel Defence Forces have been repeatedly informed of the location of these sites,” said a statement from the UN chief.

“This attack, along with other breaches of international law, must be swiftly investigated and those responsible held accountable. It is a moral outrage and a criminal act.”

According to reports, a missile attack killed people sheltering at the school in Rafah, the latest deadly strike on a UN compound as the fighting between Israel and Hamas continues.

Israel launched an offensive into Gaza after Hamas fired rockets. The fighting has taken a heavy toll on Palestinian civilians, with both sides blaming each other for the deaths. Israel says Hamas is using mosques and schools to hide weapons and launch attacks, while Palestinian leaders accuse Israel of using disproportionate force.

The Obama administration has used unusually strong language to criticize Israel and urge its military to be more careful to prevent civilian casualties.

President Obama last week defended Israel’s right to defend itself. But he said that more needed to be done to protect “innocent civilians in Gaza caught in the crossfire.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday vowed to continue the Gaza offensive despite growing international criticism.

U.S. efforts to broker a cease-fire failed Friday after a Hamas attack left two Israeli soldiers dead and one missing. On Saturday, Israel said the missing soldier, believed to have been captured by Hamas was dead.