Close-up footage shows the moment that an Israeli airstrike rammed into a Gaza house on Saturday. This was as Israel’s campaign against militant Palestinian Islamic Jihad PIJ grew into a second day.
After warning residents, two bombs were dropped by Israeli fighter jets on the home of an Islamic Jihad member.
This latest eruption of tensions started with a surprise attack by the Israeli army on Friday, which killed a top commander of the PIJ. It ended more than a decade of relative calm.
Palestinian militants retaliated by firing at most 200 rockets at Israel – most of them intercepted and set off multiple air raid sirens, sending people running for shelters. According to the Israeli ambulance service, there were no reports of any serious injuries.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, 15 people were killed in fighting in Gaza’s latest round of fighting. This includes a 5-year-old girl and a woman aged 79. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, 140 civilians were injured and 31 families were left homeless.
Lynn Hastings (UN’s humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory), stated that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is already “dangerous” and could only get worse with the latest escalation.
She said that “the hostilities must cease to avoid more deaths or injuries of civilians in Gaza/Israel,” and urged both sides to respect international humanitarian law.
Israel stopped fuel transport to Gaza just before Friday’s strike, crippling the territory.
A single power plant, reducing electricity consumption to approximately eight hours per day.
Ms. Hastings stated that service facilities like schools, hospitals, warehouses and designated shelters to internally displaced people are at risk of becoming inoperable.
She urged the Israeli authorities to grant UN personnel and humanitarian personnel safe passage across borders to transport fuel, food and other supplies.
She stated that she was ready to work with all parties to meet humanitarian needs.
Intensive talks to calm down the situation
After days of tensions after the Monday arrest of a senior Islamic Jihad militant on the occupied West Bank, the fighting follows threats of retaliation by the group.
Egypt stated that it is engaged in intensive negotiations to calm the situation. Further escalation would depend on whether Hamas (the Islamic militant group which has control of Gaza) will choose to join the fighting.
Although smaller than Hamas, the PIJ shares a similar ideology with both groups that oppose Israel’s presence.
Two Egyptian security sources informed Retuers that a delegation of intelligence officers from Egypt headed by Major General Ahmed Abdelkhaliq arrived at Israel on Saturday. They would then travel to Gaza to mediate, according two Egyptian security officials.
Islamic Jihad warned that no ceasefire was possible. Officials from the group stated that “the time now is for resistance, and not a truce.”
While the Western-backed Palestinian Authority condemned Israel’s attacks, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides stated on Twitter that Israel has the right to defend itself.