Gaza death toll rises to 32 amid Israeli aggression

Six Palestinian children among dead: UN Security Council to discuss Gaza violence: Mixed world reaction over Israeli attacks

By: AFP
Published: 11:01 AM, 7 Aug, 2022
Gaza death toll rises to 32 amid Israeli aggression
Caption: Terrified Palestinian children gather at safety areas following Israeli airstrikes over Rafah, located in the southern Gaza.
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The death toll from violence in Gaza has risen to 32, including six children, the health ministry in the Palestinian enclave said on Sunday.

It said the victims had been killed since Friday in Israeli strikes that also wounded 215 people. Israeli authorities deny blame and say the children were killed on Saturday by a rocket fired by Gaza militants towards Israel that fell short.

Gaza's health ministry blamed "Israeli aggression" for the deaths, that also included "an elderly woman", and for the 203 people wounded.

But an Israeli government statement denied blame for a strike in Jabalia on Saturday that reportedly killed children, insisting that a rocket fired by Gaza fighters towards Israel had fallen short.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council (UNSC) is to discuss Israel's airstrikes on Gaza in a closed-doors session in New York on Monday, as the death toll continued to rise.

The UN's most powerful body agreed to address the attacks following requests for it to do so made by the United Arab Emirates, Ireland, France, Norway and China on Saturday.

Israeli forces launched Operation Breaking Dawn on Friday, a series of targeted airstrikes on Gaza that resulted in the killing of Taisir al-Jabari, a senior leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, among many others.

Fearing reprisals for al-Jabari's killing, Israel closed its border with Gaza causing a fuel shortage at Gaza's sole power plant that forced it offline on Saturday.

As a result, Gaza residents are now limited to just four hours of electricity a day, compared to the previous 12, in what an energy company official described as a "catastrophic situation."

In another development, 20 members of the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad were arrested overnight by Israeli security forces in the West Bank, the army announced on Sunday, as renewed violence flared in the Gaza strip.

In several raids around 20 suspects belonging to Islamic Jihad were brought in from around the West Bank, the army said in a statement.

The latest deadly flare-up between the Israeli military and Palestinians in Gaza has drawn mixed reactions from the international community, along with a chorus of calls for a de-escalation.

- United States -

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby urged calm from both sides but said US ally Israel had the right to defend itself.

"We certainly urge all sides to avoid further escalation... We absolutely fully support Israel's right to defend itself against terrorist groups that are taking the lives of innocent civilians in Israel," he said.

- Russia -

Russia, whose ties with Israel have been tested by Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, appeared to pin initial blame on the Jewish state.

"We are observing with profound worry how events are evolving," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, adding that Moscow was calling "on all the parties involved to show maximum restraint".

"The new escalation was caused by Israeli army firing into the Gaza Strip on August 5, to which Palestinian groups responded by carrying out massive and indiscriminate bombardments on Israeli territory," she said.

- Britain -

Britain called for "a swift end to the violence", while reasserting its support of Israel.

"The UK stands by Israel and its right to defend itself," Foreign Secretary Liz Truss tweeted.

"We condemn terrorist groups firing at civilians and violence which has resulted in casualties on both sides."

Health authorities in the Palestinian enclave have said a five-year-old girl was among 15 people killed in Israeli bombardment.

No deaths have been reported on the Israeli side.

- France -

Paris "condemns the rocket fire on Israeli territory and restates its unconditional commitment to Israel's security", a spokesperson said, warning that "civilians would be the first victims" of a new escalation and urging all parties to show "restraint".

- European Union -

The EU called for maximum restraint, as Israel warned Saturday that its air strikes could last a week and as cross-border fire reverberated for a second day, in the worst escalation since the last Gaza war in 2021.

"The European Union follows with great concern the latest developments in and around Gaza," a spokesman for the EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

"The EU calls for maximum restraint on all sides... While Israel has the right to protect its civilian population, everything must be done to prevent a broader conflict," he said.

- United Nations -

UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland said he was "deeply concerned", warning that the escalation was "very dangerous".

- Egypt -

Egypt, historically a broker between Israel and armed groups in Gaza, has reportedly been seeking to mediate.

"Contacts are maintained around the clock with everyone, so that things do not get out of control," President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said in a speech.

- Iran -

Iran, a supporter of Gaza militants, said the territory was "not alone" in its fight.

"We are with you on this path until the end, and let Palestine and the Palestinians know that they are not alone," Iran's Revolutionary Guards chief Major General Hossein Salami told Islamic Jihad leader Ziad al-Nakhala during a meeting in Tehran.

- Saudi Arabia -

The Saudi foreign ministry condemned "the attacks which the Israeli occupation forces have carried out on the Gaza Strip", adding that it "stands beside the brotherly Palestinian people" and calling on the international community to help stop the escalation.

- Arab League -

The Arab League "condemned in the strongest possible terms the ferocious Israeli aggression against Gaza".

- Gulf bloc -

The secretary-general of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, Nayef al-Hajraf, "condemned the brutal military aggression of the Israeli occupation forces on the Gaza Strip" and "stressed the need for the international community to act urgently" to protect civilians.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.