Gaza: At least 30 Palestinians killed as Israeli strikes enter fourth day

At least 30 Palestinians killed as Israeli strikes in Gaza enter fourth day. (Photo/AFP)

Israel's air strikes on Gaza have entered fourth day with at least 30 Palestinians killed, among them several leaders of Islamic Jihad as well as civilians including women, children and elderly.

Air strikes by the Israeli army since Tuesday have killed civilians, including several children, said officials in the crowded coastal territory.

Rocket fire from the Gaza Strip killed one person in the central Israeli city of Rehovot and injured at least two others, Israeli police said. Three others sustained shrapnel injuries elsewhere in Israel.

The Health Ministry in Gaza said a total of 30 people had have been killed since the fighting erupted.

Islamic Jihad confirmed it has lost five military leaders in strikes in recent days, including Ahmed Abu Deka -- the deputy of Ali Ghali, commander of a rocket launch unit also killed by Israel on Thursday.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant ordered the security establishment "to take all the measures necessary, to prepare additional actions and maintain readiness for the possibility of increased fire".

'Wave of escalation'

In Gaza City's Al Rimal district, Mamoun Radi, 48, said: "We hope that the wave of escalation will end, but we support revenge for the martyrs.

"Israel assassinated a leader of [Islamic] Jihad at dawn today because it does not want calm."

Ceasefire efforts

An Islamic Jihad source said Mohammad al Hindi, who heads the group's political bureau, arrived on Thursday in Cairo for talks with Egyptian intelligence officials.

An Egyptian source meanwhile told AFP news agency a security delegation from Cairo would be in Tel Aviv later Thursday for talks with Israeli officials on a ceasefire.

Israeli officials confirmed Egypt's involvement in attempts to facilitate understandings between the sides toward halting the hostilities.

"We urge an immediate comprehensive ceasefire which will end Israeli military operations in Gaza and current rocket firing against Israel, which is unacceptable," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.

'Tragic and heartbreaking'

The United States stopped short of a clear call for a truce, but State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said the casualties are "tragic and heartbreaking".

Washington is calling on all sides "to take prudent steps to ensure the loss of civilian life is prevented and that steps are taken to ensure that violence is reduced", he added.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said "the bloodletting must end now", while the UN warned of "a negative impact on an already difficult humanitarian situation in Gaza".

This week's Gaza clashes are the worst since a three-day escalation in August killed 49 Palestinians, with no Israeli fatalities.

West Bank violence

Violence has also flared in the occupied West Bank, where the Israeli army has staged repeated raids, which have often flared into street clashes or gun battles.

On Thursday, two Palestinians died from their wounds after being shot by the Israeli army in a raid the day before in the West Bank city of Qabatiya, the Palestinian health ministry said.

The Israeli army said it has arrested 25 suspected Islamic Jihad members in West Bank raids in recent days.

The conflict has escalated since veteran leader Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power late last year, heading a coalition with extreme right and ultra-Orthodox parties. 


Source: TRT World