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24 dead, including six children, in spiralling Gaza violence

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The death toll from escalating violence in Gaza rose to 24 on Saturday, including six children, as Israel extended its bombardment of Palestinian militants who have retaliated with a barrage of rockets.

The updated fatality count from health authorities in Hamas Islamist run Gaza said six children were among those killed since the start of the “Israeli aggression” on Friday, in addition to 204 injured.

It was not immediately clear how many children were killed in the incident in Jabalia. An AFP photographer saw six dead bodies at an area hospital, including three minors.

Israel has said it was necessary to launch a “pre-emptive” operation against Islamic Jihad, saying the group was planning an imminent attack following days of tensions along the border with Gaza.

Israel’s ongoing strikes are being met with flurries of rockets from the Palestinian side, stoking fears of a repeat of an 11-day conflict that devastated Gaza in May 2021.

Gaza’s health ministry said the next few hours will be “crucial and difficult”, warning it risked suspending vital services within 72 hours as a result of the lack of electricity.

In Gaza City, resident Dounia Ismail said Palestinians have become accustomed to preparing a “survival bag” of items such as money and medicine.

On the Israeli side of the frontier, the Magen David Adom emergency service said two people were hospitalised with shrapnel wounds and 13 others were lightly hurt while running for safety.

“We recognise that on the other side too there is an uninvolved civilian population, and on both sides children deserve to enjoy their summer vacation,” the 40-year-old said.

An Israeli military spokesman said its forces were “preparing for the operation to last a week,” and told AFP that the army is “not currently holding ceasefire negotiations”.

Israel and Islamic Jihad confirmed the killing of Taysir al-Jabari, a key commander of the militant group, in a Friday strike.

Hamas has fought four wars with Israel since seizing control of Gaza in 2007, including the conflict last May.

Hamas’s moves now could prove crucial, with the group facing pressure from some to restore calm in order to improve economic conditions in Gaza.

Mohammed Abu Salameh, the director of Shifa, Gaza City’s main hospital, said medics are facing “acute shortages of medical supplies”.

On Friday, the health ministry reported “a five-year-old girl” was among those killed by Israeli fire.

The Gaza strikes follow the arrest in the occupied West Bank of two senior members of Islamic Jihad, including Bassem al-Saadi, who Israel accuses of orchestrating recent attacks.

Israel has conducted a wave of often deadly raids in the West Bank since mid-March in response to lethal attacks on Israelis.

Article link: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/israel-strikes-kill-top-gaza-militant-triggering-rocket-barrage/news-story/676b1ee60282f4cd662cc9edf3608d6a
Article source: The Australian | August 7, 2022

2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000