Ban calls for accountability over UN school bombings in Gaza
UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for those responsible for the bombing of UN-run buildings and schools in Gaza to be held accountable following Israel's 22-day war on Hamas.world Updated: Jan 21, 2009 12:30 IST
UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for those responsible for the bombing of UN-run buildings and schools in Gaza to be held accountable following Israel's 22-day war on Hamas.
"It is an outrageous and totally unacceptable attack on the United Nations," Ban said yesterday outside the still-smouldering main UN compound in Gaza City that was hit during the war.
"There must be a full investigation, a full explanation to make sure it never happens again. There should be accountability through a proper judiciary system," he said.
Ban, describing the scenes in post-war Gaza as "heartbreaking," became the first world leader to visit the enclave since Israel halted its deadliest offensive on the Palestinian territory, which has been ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement since June 2007.
Four UN-run schools where Gazans were sheltering from the fighting were also struck by Israel. More than 40 people were killed in one such attack, according to medics and UN officials.
"I'm just appalled. I'm not able to describe how I'm feeling, having seen this site of the bombing of the United Nations compound," Ban said. "Today I am protesting again in the strongest terms and condemning it."
Israel has said it made very effort to prevent the deaths of civilians and said it was fired upon from inside or near each of the UN sites in question.
Ban went on to accuse Israel of using "excessive force" in the conflict, but he also condemned Palestinian rocket fire on southern Israel as "completely unacceptable."
And he said as much again when he later visited the Israeli town of Sderot, close to the Gaza border that has borne the brunt of the rocket attacks since 2000.