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U.S. Condemns "Disgraceful" Israeli Bombing — Some Of The Harshest American Public Criticism Of Israel Ever

Ten dead in Rafah.

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The U.S. State Department Sunday issued its harshest public criticism of Israel during the current Gaza conflict — or in recent memory — calling the air strike outside of a United Nations-run school in Rafah "disgraceful" after 10 Palestinian civilians were killed.

Thousands of displaced Palestinians have used the school as a refuge.

"The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians," spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement emailed to reporters. "We call for a full and prompt investigation of this incident as well as the recent shelling of other UNRWA [U.N. Relief and Works Agency] schools."

The U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the attack a "moral outrage and a criminal act" and a "gross violation of international law."

Israel declared a humanitarian cease-fire in most of Gaza for seven hours starting Monday at 10 a.m. local time. The cease-fire would apply to all of the Gaza Strip except eastern Rafah, Israeli officials said.

Longtime observers of U.S.-Israel relations were surprised by the sharpness of the statement.

Today's @StateDept condemnation of #UNRWA school shelling by IDF is some of the harshest US criticism of #Israel ever.

Matt Lee@APDiploWriter

Today's @StateDept condemnation of #UNRWA school shelling by IDF is some of the harshest US criticism of #Israel ever.

1:45 PM - 03 Aug 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

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tweeted a lot of that statement bc appears to be strongest statement yet from US about Israel. See you on @CNN in 14 min

Jake Tapper@jaketapper

tweeted a lot of that statement bc appears to be strongest statement yet from US about Israel. See you on @CNN in 14 min

1:46 PM - 03 Aug 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

More from @statedeptspox statement, strongest criticism of Israel to date:”Appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school"

Nick Schifrin@nickschifrin

More from @statedeptspox statement, strongest criticism of Israel to date:”Appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school"

1:52 PM - 03 Aug 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Serious change in language from @statedeptspox as they condemn Israel shelling UNRWA school.

Sheera Frenkel@sheeraf

Serious change in language from @statedeptspox as they condemn Israel shelling UNRWA school.

2:15 PM - 03 Aug 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Rachel Zarrell is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Rachel Zarrell at rachel.zarrell@buzzfeed.com.

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