By Faith Barbara Namagembe Updated at 2117 EAT on 7th August.2022.
Talks are under way to end the latest violence between Israel and Palestinian militants, which has killed at least 36 Palestinians since Friday.
Islamic Jihad militants and Israel are reported to have agreed a truce brokered by Egypt, but officially talks are still in progress.
Earlier, rockets fired from Gaza reached Jerusalem for the first time since May last year.
Israel says it launched strikes due to an “immediate threat” from militants.
The latest violence is the most serious flare-up between Israel and Gaza since an 11-day conflict in May 2021 left more than 200 Palestinians and a dozen Israelis dead.
However, the violence has so far been more limited as Hamas – the Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip and which often coordinates with PIJ – has refrained from joining attacks against Israel. Israel says the PIJ has fired hundreds of rockets in recent days, most of which have been intercepted. No injuries have so far been reported in Israel.
There are no reports of Israeli air strikes targeting Hamas, which would mark an escalation in the violence.
Large crowds gathered on Sunday for the funerals of those killed in strikes on Rafah, in the south of the territory, including senior PIJ commander Khaled Mansour – the second top militant to have died. Demonstrations in support of Gaza have also been held in the West Bank city of Nablus.
On Sunday evening, the Palestinian health ministry said that 11 children were among the 36 deaths recorded so far.
Reports of a potential ceasefire deal come amid concerns over the humanitarian situation in Gaza, as health officials warned that hospitals only had enough fuel to run generators for another two days.
Gaza’s health ministry blamed “Israeli aggression” for the deaths of Palestinians and for the 265 people wounded.
Israel accused PIJ militants of accidentally causing at least some of those deaths – claiming on Saturday that the group fired a stray rocket killing multiple children in Jabalia, in the Gaza Strip. The BBC has not been able to independently verify this claim.
The latest conflict closely follows Israel’s arrest of Bassem Saadi, reported to be the head of PIJ in the West Bank, on Monday night.
He was held in the Jenin area as part of an ongoing series of arrest operations after a wave of attacks by Israeli Arabs and Palestinians that left 17 Israelis and two Ukrainians dead. Two of the attackers came from the Jenin district.
PIJ, which is one of the strongest militant groups operating in Gaza, is backed by Iran and has its headquarters in the Syrian capital Damascus.
It has been responsible for many attacks, including rocket-fire and shootings against Israel.
In November 2019, Israel and PIJ fought a five-day conflict following the killing by Israel of a PIJ commander who Israel said had been planning an imminent attack. The violence left 34 Palestinians dead and 111 injured, while 63 Israelis needed medical treatment.
Israel said 25 of the Palestinians killed were militants, including those hit preparing to launch rockets.
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