Gaza City, Gaza (AP) -- Residents of a Gaza neighborhood are confirming Israel's claim that Hamas militants had opened fire from the cover of a U.N. school where hundreds of Palestinians had sought refuge.
Israeli forces fired back with mortars, and hospital officials says three dozen Palestinians were killed.
Two residents say a group of militants had fired their mortars from a street near the school, then fled into a crowd of people in the streets.
The Israeli Army says two of the dead were militants. It accuses Gaza's Hamas rulers of "cynically" using civilians as human shields.
Gaza health officials say a total of 70 Palestinians have been killed Tuesday, with just two confirmed as militants.
A top U.N. Officials is calling for an investigation into the mounting civilian death toll.
Meanwhile, Israeli ground forces have been edging closer to two major towns in Gaza, despite international criticism over civilian deaths and diplomatic efforts to broker a cease-fire.
(Copyright 2009 By The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)