Palestinian authorities reported Friday evening of 139 dead, including 39 children
Ground Report | New Delhi: Gaza mourns the death of eight children in one of the night’s Israeli strikes on Saturday, while further outbursts of anger are expected in the West Bank and an attempt at mediation begins with the arrival of an American envoy for talks.
Senior US State Department official for Israeli and Palestinian affairs Hady Amr is due to meet with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem on Sunday and travel to the occupied West Bank for talks with Palestinian officials.
He wishes to encourage both sides to achieve “lasting calm,” said State Department deputy spokeswoman Jalina Porter. Stalwart allies of Israel , the United States has come under fire for not doing more to end the violence after it blocked a UN Security Council meeting scheduled for Friday.
Despite intensified diplomatic efforts to end five days of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, the Israeli Air Force struck several sites in the coastal enclave overnight Friday in Saturday, as nearly 300 rockets were launched again from Gaza into Israel, according to the military.
Among the victims of this latest round of Israeli shelling on the Palestinian enclave are eight children and two women, cousins, who were in their three-story apartment building in the Al Shati refugee camp, according to these paramedical sources in Gaza.
“They (the children) were safe in their house, they did not carry weapons, they did not fire rockets,” testified Mohamad Al Hadidi, the father of four of the victims, at the Shifa hospital in La Gaza city.
The last balance sheet of the Palestinian authorities reported Friday evening of 139 dead, including 39 children and 1,000 injured in the Israeli bombardments on the Gaza Strip since Monday.
As power cuts escalated in Gaza, Egypt opened its Rafah border post with the Gaza Strip on Saturday to allow entry of ten ambulances carrying seriously injured Palestinians.
In Israel, the night was marked in the south by the sound of rocket alerts, with nearly 300 missiles fired from Gaza, according to the army. More than 2,300 rockets have been launched into Israeli territory since Monday, killing 9 people, including a child and a soldier, and injuring more than 560. According to the military, the “Iron Dome” missile shield intercepted more than half of these missiles.
The Israeli military operation, the largest since the 2014 war with the Islamist movement in Gaza, began on Monday, in response to a barrage of rockets by Hamas on Israel, fired in “solidarity” with the Palestinian uprising on the plaza. Mosques in East Jerusalem.
– ‘Not finished yet’-
The clashes at Islam’s third holiest site came after days of clashes in East Jerusalem, mainly due to threats of eviction of Palestinian families for the benefit of Jewish settlers.
Despite international calls for de-escalation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that his army will inflict “serious setback” on the “terrorist” movement Hamas which controls the Palestinian enclave of Gaza. “They are paying and will continue to pay dearly. It is not over yet,” he said.
The Israeli authorities also remain on alert Saturday, as new protests are expected across the occupied West Bank.
The Palestinians commemorate every May 15 the Nakba, the “catastrophe” which in their eyes represented the creation of Israel in 1948, and “synonymous with an exodus for hundreds of thousands of them” and which each year gives rise to violent clashes with the army or Israeli settlers.
Israel is also facing an escalation of inter-community violence in its “mixed” cities, where Jews and Arabs usually live and mix, especially in Lod (center), Jaffa near Tel Aviv and Acre, in the north of the country.
The night from Friday to Saturday, marked by the weekly rest of Shabbat, was nevertheless one of the quietest in Israel since the beginning of the week.
At the same time, a new front has opened up in the north of the country. Three rockets launched from Syria were heard Friday evening in northern Israel. Earlier, on the Israeli-Lebanese border, a member of Hezbollah participating in a demonstration was killed by gunfire from the Israeli army. At the same border, the army announced on Saturday that it had shot at men who were trying to “infiltrate Israeli territory” by damaging the barrier separating the two warring countries.
Faced with the escalation, the UN Security Council is due to meet on Sunday.
With Inputs from AFP