Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday expressed deep concern over Israel's attacks on two UN-run schools in Gaza in the last 24 hours, stressing the inviolability of UN facilities.
"I am deeply shocked that two UNRWA schools were struck in less than 24 hours in Gaza. Dozens of people-many women and children-were killed and injured as they were seeking safety in United Nations premises," Guterres said in a statement.
"Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians are seeking shelter at United Nations facilities throughout Gaza due to the intensified fighting. I reaffirm that our premises are inviolable."
He said the conflict is having a "staggering" and "unacceptable" number of civilian casualties, including women and children, which "must stop."
The UN chief reiterated calls for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire, and appreciated Qatar for its mediatory efforts in the release of hostages held by Hamas after its cross border attack on Israel last month.
Israeli air raids have killed many Palestinians at Al Fakhoura school in the Jabalia refugee camp, and another school in Tall az-Zaatar, also in northern Gaza. Several people were said to have taken shelter at both schools, fleeing the non-stop Israeli attacks.