The White House on Wednesday condemned the shelling of a UN-run school in Gaza where displaced Palestinians were sheltering from an assault by Israeli forces on Hamas militants.
"The United States condemns the shelling of a UNRWA school in Gaza, which reportedly killed and injured innocent Palestinians, including children, and UN humanitarian workers," National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said.
The school in the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, which was sheltering more than 3,000 displaced people, came under attack from Israeli tank shells at dawn Wednesday. Sixteen Palestnians were killed.
It is the second time in a week that a UN school housing refugees has been hit.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the strike "unjustifiable."
Meehan said Washington was "extremely concerned that thousands of internally displaced Palestinians who have been called on by the Israeli military to evacuate their homes are not safe in UN designated shelters in Gaza."
"We also condemn those responsible for hiding weapons in United Nations facilities in Gaza," she said.
"All of these actions, and similar ones earlier in the conflict, are inconsistent with the UN's neutrality. This violence underscores the need to achieve a ceasefire as soon as possible."