City of Yaga:
The death toll from escalating violence in Gaza rose to 24 on Saturday, including six children, as Israel extended its bombardment of Palestinian terrorists who responded with a barrage of rockets.
The death toll updated by health authorities in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip indicates that six children were among those killed since the “Israeli aggression” began on Friday, in addition to 204 injured.
But Israel said it had “irrefutable” evidence that the stray rocket from Islamic Jihad terrorists was responsible for the deaths of several children in Jabalia, northern Gaza, on Saturday.
It is not immediately known how many children were killed in the Jabalia incident. An AFP photographer saw six bodies in a local hospital, including three minors.
The Israeli military has warned that its air and artillery campaign against Islamic Jihad could last a week, but Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Cairo was talking “around the clock” with both sides to mitigate. violence.
Israel said it needed to launch a “pre-emptive” operation against Islamic Jihad, saying the group predicted an imminent attack after days of tension along the border with Gaza.
Meanwhile, civilians took refuge in air-raid shelters on the Israeli side, as AFP reporters heard sirens warning of an imminent gunfire in the Tel Aviv area on Saturday evening.
Israel’s ongoing strikes are being met with barrages of rockets from the Palestinian side, stoking fears of a repeat of an 11-day conflict that devastated Gaza in May 2021.
Daily life in Gaza came to a standstill, as the electricity utility said the only power station had been closed due to a lack of fuel after Israel closed its border crossings.
Gaza’s health ministry said the next few hours would be “crucial and difficult”, warning it risked suspending vital services within 72 hours due to lack of electricity.
‘We are all alone’
In Gaza City, resident Dounia Ismail said Palestinians have become accustomed to packing a “survival bag” containing items such as money and medicine.
“This latest escalation brings back images of fear, anxiety and the feeling that we are all alone,” she told AFP.
On the Israeli side of the border, the Magen David Adom emergency service said two people were hospitalized with shrapnel wounds and 13 others suffered minor injuries as they ran to get to shelter.
In Kibbutz Nahal Oz, an Israeli community near the Gaza border, resident Nadav Peretz said he had been “in or around the bomb shelter” since Friday.
“We recognize that on the other side too there is an uninvolved civilian population, and on both sides the children deserve to enjoy their summer holidays,” said the 40-year-old.
“The battle is only just beginning”
An Israeli army spokesman said its forces were “preparing for the operation to last a week”, and told AFP the army was “not currently conducting ceasefire negotiations”. fire”.
The leader of the Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Mohammed al-Hindi, said: “The battle is just beginning.
Israel and Islamic Jihad confirmed the killing of Taysir al-Jabari, a key commander in the terror group, in a strike on Friday.
Islamic Jihad is aligned with Hamas, but often acts independently. Both are blacklisted as terrorist organizations by much of the West.
Hamas has fought four wars with Israel since it took control of Gaza in 2007, including the conflict last May.
A flare-up with Islamic Jihad came in 2019, following Israel’s killing of Baha Abu al-Ata, Jabari’s predecessor. Hamas has not joined the fray in this conflict.
Hamas’ actions could now prove crucial, as the group faces pressure from some to restore calm in order to improve economic conditions in Gaza.
five year old girl
Mohammed Abu Salameh, the director of Shifa, Gaza City’s main hospital, said doctors are facing “a severe shortage of medical supplies”.
The UN humanitarian chief for the occupied Palestinian territories, Lynn Hastings, has urged warring parties to allow the delivery of “fuel, food and medical supplies” to Gaza amid the worsening crisis.
On Friday, the Health Ministry said “a five-year-old girl” was among those killed by Israeli fire.
The young girl, Alaa Kaddum, had a pink bow in her hair and a wound on her forehead, as her body was carried by her father at his funeral.
The strikes in Gaza follow the arrest in the occupied West Bank of two senior Islamic Jihad operatives, including Bassem al-Saadi, whom Israel accuses of orchestrating the recent attacks.
Israel expanded its operation against Islamic Jihad on Saturday, announcing the arrest of 19 people in the West Bank it said belonged to the group.
Israel has carried out a wave of often deadly raids in the West Bank since mid-March in response to deadly attacks on Israelis.
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