Washington: The United States said it was "appalled" by the shelling of another UN school in Gaza on Sunday and called for a "full and prompt" investigation.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki did not explicitly say which side was responsible for the attack that left at least 10 dead, but strongly implied the US believed Israel was responsible, calling on it "to do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties."
Israel`s military later confirmed it had fired on a target "in the vicinity" of the UN school in Rafah, where thousands of Palestinians had taken refuge from the fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas.
It was the third time a UN school had been hit in 10 days, and came amid growing international outrage over the mounting civilian casualties of the 27-day-old conflict.
Earlier UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the latest attack, and called for the immediate end to the fighting, saying, "This madness must stop."
Psaki said, "The United States is appalled by today`s disgraceful shelling outside an United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) school in Rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons, in which at least ten more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed."
She said the school`s coordinates, like those of all other UN facilities in Gaza, had been repeatedly communicated to the Israel Defence Forces.
"The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians," she said.
"We call for a full and prompt investigation of this incident as well as the recent shelling of other UNRWA schools," she added.