Israel says ‘misfire’ by Palestinian militants kills civilians in Gaza
Jerusalem: Israel denied its responsibility for an airstrike that killed civilians, including four children, in Gaza, saying the fatal explosion caused by a failed rocket was launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
Lior Hayat, head of Israel’s National Public Diplomacy Directorate, said in a statement that a rocket, which was misfired by the PIJ militants, caused “the tragic killing of the children” in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, Xinhua news agency reported.
An Israeli military spokesperson said that “an in-depth debrief” showed that the Israeli Air Force did not carry out any airstrikes in Jabaliya at the time of the incident.
At least five people, including four children, were killed and 15 others injured on Saturday night by an explosion in the refugee camp of Jabaliya, according to Palestinian sources and paramedics.
According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), at least 350 rockets have been fired toward Israel since Friday, and more than 95 percent of them were intercepted by air defense systems, with no injuries or major damage reported.
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz visited an air defense battery on Saturday and said the operational activities will “continue and intensify.”
Palestinian authorities in the Gaza Strip reported at least 15 people were killed in the airstrikes and over 100 people injured since Friday.
The fighting began on Friday when the Israeli air force killed a senior PIJ commander. The violent escalation came after several days of heightened tensions along Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip.