Israeli tank shells hit a compound housing a UN school in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens who were seeking shelter.

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A Palestinian man carries a baby after being evacuated from a UN-run school that was hit by Israeli shellingReuters

Dozens of people, including children were wheeled into a nearby hospital as sirens wailed. "Such a massacre requires more than one hospital to deal with it," said Ayman Hamdan, director of the Beit Hanoun hospital.

The director said that various medical centres were receiving the wounded after the blast hit the school in Beit Hanoun, holding about 1,500 Palestinian refugees.

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A man holds a girl, whom medics said was injured in the Israeli shelling of the schoolReuters
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A relative mourns at a hospital in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza StripReuters
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Worried Palestinians wait outside a hospital ward where a wounded girl is being treatedReuters
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Women mourn outside a hospital morgueReuters
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A relative of Palestinians whom medics said were killed in Israeli shelling at a UN-run school, reacts at a hospital in the northern Gaza StripReuters
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A boy who was wounded in an Israeli strike on a compound housing a UN school in Beit Hanoun arrives at the al-Shifa hospitalAFP
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Medics treat a wounded Palestinian child in an emergency room at the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza CityAFP

Pools of blood stain the school courtyard in Beit Hanoun, and a large scorch mark in the courtyard marks the place where one of the tank shells hit.

Israel insists it does its utmost to prevent civilian casualties but says Hamas puts Palestinians in danger by hiding arms and fighters in civilian areas.

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A trail of blood is seen in the courtyard of a UN School in Beit Hanoun after it was hit by an Israeli tank shellAFP
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Blood runs down the stairs at the United Nations-run school in Beit HanounReuters
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A crater is seen in a courtyard after a United Nations-run school sheltering Palestinians was hit by an Israeli shellReuters

The deaths raised the overall Palestinian death toll in the conflict that began on July 8 to at least 751. Israel has lost 32 soldiers, all since July 17, when it widened its air campaign into a full-scale ground operation.