Israel backtracks on school bombing

And in other news, water remains wet and bears have been spotted looking furtive in a forested region, clutching packets of Andrex.

‘Stray mortar’ hit UN Gaza school

Israeli defence officials are now saying one of the deadliest recent incidents in Gaza, when a UN school was bombed, was caused by a stray mortar.

The attack killed about 40 Palestinian civilians sheltering at the Fakhura school in Jabaliya on Tuesday.

Initially, Israeli officials accused Hamas of firing from the school and using civilians as “human shields”.

The dropping of the defence that Hamas mortars had come from within the school compound may cause some embarrassment to Israel in what has been a high profile incident.

The initial “human shield” claim was made forcefully after the killings by the military, politicians and many supporters of Israel.

“Hamas cynically uses civilians as human shields,” the military said in its initial statement, and later it went as far as naming two well-known Hamas militants among those killed at the school.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev called the incident “a very extreme example of how Hamas operates”.

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