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U.N. suspends aid work in Gaza

    * Story Highlights
    * NEW: U.N. secretary-general says Israelis fired on U.N. aid convoy
    * NEW: Aid suspension comes after Israeli shell reportedly kills two U.N. 
    * U.N. Relief and Works Agency says Israel must guarantee safety of staff
    * Israeli, Hamas officials in Cairo, Egypt, but won't meet

GAZA CITY, Gaza (CNN) -- Israeli forces fired on a U.N. aid convoy Thursday in 
Gaza, killing two aid workers, during a three-hour truce that Israel set up to 
allow humanitarian aid to reach civilians, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 

"Since the conflict began 13 days ago, four UNRWA local staff have been 
killed," according to a statement from Ban's representative referring to the 
U.N. Relief and Works Agency.

"The U.N. is in close touch with the Israeli authorities about a full 
investigation of this and other incidents, and about the need for urgent 
measures to avoid them in the future."

As a result of Thursday's fatal attack on its aid convoy, the U.N. relief 
agency will suspend activities in Gaza until the Israeli military can guarantee 
the safety of its staff, said the agency's chief spokesman, Chris Gunness, in 

The humanitarian agency provides food and relief supplies to about 80 percent 
of Gaza's 1.5 million people. At least 50 trucks carrying humanitarian goods 
and diesel fuel crossed into Gaza on Thursday. VideoImages emerge of Israeli 
troops in Gaza »

A spokeswoman for the Israeli military said it is not aware of the attack near 
the Erez Crossing but said Hamas militants sometimes have targeted U.N. aid 
trucks to take food.

The Red Cross said Thursday that Israeli forces also fired on one of its 
convoys in Gaza but no one was hurt.

Israeli artillery and missiles have struck three U.N. schools in Gaza this 
week. More than 40 civilians were killed in a strike Tuesday on a U.N. school 
in Jabalya that was being used as a shelter. Three people were killed in 
airstrike Monday on a school shelter in Gaza City.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Israeli forces fired on 
Hamas militants in "the immediate vicinity" of the Jabalya school. Gunness 
vehemently denied any militants were inside the school and demanded that Israel 
agree to an impartial investigation.

Violence again interrupted a three-hour humanitarian truce Thursday afternoon. 
Fighting also marred a similar pause Wednesday.

Large explosions could be heard Thursday from central Gaza as well as 
small-arms fire from northern Gaza, CNN's Ben Wedeman reported from along the 
Israel-Gaza border.

Also, Israeli armored bulldozers demolished a home in Gaza "just as the lull 
was supposed to go into effect," he said.

The Israeli military has not commented on the house demolition but defended the 
use of weapons during the truce hours.

"If Hamas takes advantage of the cease-fire and keeps on fighting ... that 
doesn't mean we'll endanger our soldiers," said Palmor, the Israeli Foreign 
Ministry spokesman. "If we're fired at, we'll need to respond."

Meanwhile, an Israeli delegation is in Cairo, Egypt, to consider a plan 
brokered by Egypt and France that would lead to a permanent cease-fire and 
address both sides' concerns.

Egyptian media reported that two Hamas representatives are in Cairo to "listen" 
to the Egyptian plan. They are not expected to meet with the Israeli diplomats.

The Israeli military said its operation, which began December 27, is aimed at 
halting the firing of rockets into southern Israel by Hamas. But militants have 
continued to fire rockets and mortar shells, including at least 16 Thursday.

Overnight, the Israeli air force launched strikes against about 60 targets in 
the Palestinian territory, a military spokesman said Thursday.

Separately, four rockets fired from southern Lebanon landed near the northern 
Israeli city of Nahariya, leaving two people with minor injuries. The Israeli 
military returned fire across the border. There was no immediate claim of 
responsibility. VideoWatch CNN's Christiane Amanpour discuss the rocket attacks 

Palestinian medical sources said Thursday that the death toll from the Israeli 
incursion has reached 763, with more than 3,200 injured.

An Israeli army officer was killed Thursday during a firefight in central Gaza, 
and a soldier was shot to death Thursday afternoon in northern Gaza, the 
Israeli military said.

Nine Israeli soldiers and three civilians have been killed in the operation, 
the Israeli military reported.

CNN's Talal Abu Rahma, Michal Zippori and Ben Brumfield contributed to this 

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