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, with 24 people confirmed dead and 203 injured, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
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, dpa news agency reported, citing diplomatic sources.
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 militant group, among many others.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is classified as a terrorist organization by both the European Union and the United States, is closely linked to Israel’s arch-enemy Iran and is the second most powerful militia in the Gaza Strip after the ruling Hamas militant group.
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.”
The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said on Saturday that they were gearing up for a “week of operations” against Palestinian militants, as a barrage of retaliatory missiles were fired from Gaza towards Israel.
The Israeli military said that while 190 rockets had been fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel since Friday, they had all either fallen short of Israel, landed in uninhabited areas or been intercepted by the country’s Iron Dome defence system.
The strikes on terrorist targets in Gaza continued on Saturday, Israel said. Three residential buildings were hit by the attacks, destroying one five-storey apartment building. Residents reported that Israeli drones fired a warning shot at the building before fighter jets attacked it.
Meanwhile, five children and an adult were killed in an attack on the Jabalia refugee camp to the north of Gaza City on Saturday, according to Palestinian reports.
The Israeli military denied it was responsible for the attack, however: “Based on military data, it appears that the event was due to an errant Islamic Jihad missile,” the Israeli military said, adding that it had not been carrying out strikes on Jabalia at the time of the attack.
A spokesperson for Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid said that there was video footage documenting the incident, adding: “The world should be outraged that this terror group is targeting innocent Israelis and killing innocent people in the Gaza Strip.”
Egypt has offered to mediate ceasefire talks between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad faction in Gaza, an Egyptian security source told dpa, adding that an Egyptian team was preparing to travel to Israel and Gaza in an attempt to de-escalate the situation.
Egypt has often acted as a mediator between the Israelis and Palestinians. In 2021, Cairo successfully brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, ending 11 days of fighting.