UN chief sets up Gaza war inquiry

Ban named a retired Dutch general to head a five-member team to investigate Israeli attacks on UN shelters.

Ban described Israeli shelling of UN-run schools in Gaza as a "moral outrage" [EPA]
Ban described Israeli shelling of UN-run schools in Gaza as a "moral outrage" [EPA]

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has appointed a five-member panel to investigate Israeli attacks on UN shelters during the Gaza war.

The inquiry led by retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert will “review and investigate a number of specific incidents in which death or injuries occurred at, and/or damage was done to United Nations premises,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq said on Monday.

It will focus on incidents from July 8 to August 26, he added.

The UN spokesman emphasized that Ban “expects that the board will enjoy the full cooperation of all parties concerned.”

Ban toured the site of damaged UN shelters during his visit last month and declared that the destruction from the war was “beyond description.”

At least five UN facilities were hit during the conflict, killing scores of Palestinians including children, according to the UN refugee agency UNRWA.

Israel maintained that Hamas fighters were using the schools to store weapons and denied it had deliberately targeted the facilities, which were being used as shelters by Palestinian civilians during the 50-day war.

More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed, mainly civilians, in the 50 days of fighting that began July 8, according to UN and Palestinian estimates.

Seventy-two people were killed on the Israeli side.

Thousands of buildings were destroyed and at least 223 Gaza schools, either run by the UN refugee agency or the Hamas government, were hit in the fighting.

The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva separately has set up a commission of inquiry into the Gaza offensive, led by Canadian lawyer William Schabas.

Source : News Agencies

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