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Israel Shells UN Headquarters In Gaza

IBRAHIM BARZAK and AMY TEIBEL | January 15, 2009 10:32 AM EST | AP

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel shelled the United Nations headquarters in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, engulfing the compound and a warehouse in fire and destroying thousands of pounds of food and humanitarian supplies intended for Palestinian refugees.

U.N. workers and Palestinian firefighters, some wearing bulletproof jackets, struggled to douse the flames and pull bags of food aid from the debris after the Israeli attack, which was another blow to efforts to ease the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Dense smoke billowed from the compound.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is in the region to end the devastating offensive against Gaza’s Hamas rulers, demanded a “full explanation” and said the Israeli defense minister told him there had been a “grave mistake.”

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the military fired artillery shells at the U.N. compound after Hamas militants opened fire from the location. Three people were wounded.

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