Death toll in Gaza rises to 119, including 31 children

Israel continued to bombard the Gaza Strip on Friday with air attacks and artillery shells, ignoring international calls for calm | Photo: Mohammed Saber

Gaza, Palestine – Gaza’s Health Ministry has revealed that Israeli air strikes and ground offensive has claimed 119 Palestinian lives which includes 31 children in this week’s violence.

The death toll in Gaza rose in the early hours of Friday after a new assaults from the Israeli army that saw ground forces join the operation which has left at least 830 people injured in addition to the martyrs.

According to Israeli army spokesperson Lt Col Jonathan Conricus, a total of 55 rockets were fired overnight that saw 160 planes from 12 different squadrons, as well as three brigade forces of infantry troops claiming that it was a bid to destroy a network of militant tunnels inside the territory.

The attacks on Palestine by Israel also mark a significant escalation in the worst of fighting in years, which has seen Israel bombard Gaza leaving the Palestinians living along Gaza’s northern and eastern borders to be forced to flee to temporary shelters amid Israel’s bombardment. 

Violence flared up on May 8 at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the east of the city. The site houses a mosque considered the third holiest in Islam, but it is also where the most holy site in Judaism, The Temple Mount, is located.

As the fourth day of heavy bombardments coincided with the start of Eid al Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, and saw the faithful pray at mosques and amid the rubble of Gaza’s collapsed buildings.

Families have sought refuge in temporary shelters in central Gaza City amid the assault, which the Israeli army said was aimed at destroying a network of militant underground tunnels. According to The Associated Press, fleeing families could be seen arriving at shelters in pickup trucks, on donkeys and by foot while many carried pillows, blankets, food and cooking supplies.

While the United Nations said the Security Council would meet on Sunday to address the conflict as the world body’s secretary general called for “an immediate de-escalation and cessation of hostilities”, US president, Joe Biden, said there had “not been a significant overreaction” by Israel to the Hamas rocket attacks.

Media reports also claim that Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were using  internationally-banned phosphorus shells in Gaza against Palestinians in the airstrikes between Palestinian militants and the Israeli army started on Monday evening.