The death toll in the Gaza Strip in Israel’s ongoing ‘Operation Breaking Dawn’ rose to 24, including six children, and more than 200 people were injured as of Saturday night, health officials say Palestinians. The Israeli army accuses Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) militants of using civilians as “human shields” and kill his own people in botched rocket attacks.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed hitting several “terrorist targets” in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, but denied responsibility for a deadly explosion in the Jabalia refugee camp in the north of the enclave that reportedly killed at least six people, including three children.
“Following reports of the tragic events in Jabaliya, the IDF concluded a thorough debriefing. Based on all data from IDF systems, it appears that this event was the result of an Islamic Jihad rocket misfire,” the IDF said in a tweet Saturday evening, adding “did not carry out any activity in Jabaliya at the time of the event.”
Engine بعدمحاوله فاشله لاطلاقه على اسر pic.twitter.com/1iahWJiCHX
— sulaiman.am 🏋🏻♂️🏴☠️🇸🇦 (@sulaiman_am0) August 6, 2022
The Israeli military said its radar data could “prove beyond any doubt that this is not an Israeli attack”. A video of the allegedly failed launch circulated on social media and was broadcast by Israeli TV stations, but its authenticity could not immediately be confirmed.
“Tonight, Islamic Jihad terrorists in Gaza fired a rocket at Israeli children, but ended up killing Gazan children instead,” added a spokesperson to Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
The flare-up in tensions began on Monday, after Israel arrested the leader of Islamic Jihad in the West Bank, Bassem Saadi, along with a Palestinian teenager killed in the raid. Amid an outcry among Palestinians, the PIJ threatened retaliation and placed its fighters in Gaza on high alert.
On Friday, the IDF launched a military operation, dubbed “Breaking Dawn”, citing a “imminent threat of attack against Israeli civilians posed by the terrorist organization Islamic Jihad”. The first strikes killed a senior PIJ commander, Taysir al-Jabari, while 10 to 20 other PIJ members were reportedly targeted by missiles and artillery.
In retaliation, PIJ militants have launched several volleys of rockets into Israel, more than 350 in total since Friday, according to The Times of Israel. The IDF claims that at least 90 of these projectiles veered off course or ended up in the Gaza Strip, while nearly 95% of the others were intercepted in flight by Iron Dome missile defense systems.
Gaza’s health ministry said the hostilities had so far claimed 24 lives, including six children and two women. No casualties were reported on the Israeli side.
The IDF has pledged to continue the military operation until its objectives are achieved, saying on Saturday they are ready for a “fighting week” and that there are no peace talks at the moment.
“The State of Israel strives to defend its citizens and that we will operate decisively and with the utmost precision against terrorists and infrastructure,” he added. Defense Minister Benny Gantz tweeted.