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U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon led international protests Thursday describing the Palestinian death toll as "unbearable" as Israeli air strikes hit a hospital, media building and UN compound.

He also said the death toll from the war, now nearing 1,100, has become "unbearable."

"I have conveyed my strong protest and outrage and demanded a full explanation from the defense minister and foreign minister," Ban told reporters in Tel Aviv after the strike on a UN compound in Gaza.

The U.N. suspended its operations in Gaza after Israeli shells smashed into the compound, setting fire to warehouses holding badly-needed aid.

A building housing the offices of several media organizations, a hospital wing and the United Nations headquarters in Gaza City were struck by Israeli forces Thursday, Al Arabiya TV and witnesses reported, prompting the U.N. to suspend operations.

Three Israeli tank shells smashed into UNRWA, the U.N.'s main relief agency in Gaza, wounding three workers, the pan-Arab news station reported, in an attack condemned by the U.N. chief.

The Israeli airstrike on the al-Shorouk media building killed two Abu Dhabi TV journalists and wounded several others, Al Arabiya TV reported.

A wing of a-Quds Hospital in Gaza City caught fire after another Israeli strike, witnesses said, though it was not immediately clear whether there were injuries.

Al Arabiya TV reported that the Israeli tanks encircled the house of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahaar in Gaza City. Palestinian fighters said a number of Israeli soldiers were injured in a military unit in west Gaza, Al Arabiya said.

UNWRA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna told AFP it was suspending all operations because of the shelling.

One of the buildings, containing "hundreds of tons" of humanitarian aid, was on fire, while other parts of the compound sustained shrapnel damage, another UNRWA official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Earlier, the compound was damaged when another Israeli shell landed next to the building, which is near the Islamic University in the centre of Gaza City,

Chris Gunness, a Jerusalem-based spokesman for the agency, said hundreds people were taking refuge inside the compound when it was hit.


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