Israeli air strikes take Gaza death toll to 24, including six children

The latest killings in Gaza by Israeli forces bring the tally of children killed since Friday to six, and the total toll among Palestinians to 24.

At least 204 others have also been wounded, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

The Israeli violence has raised fears of another war on Gaza, just 15 months after a month-long conflict that killed more than 260 Palestinians.

At least four children were killed in a blast close to the Jabaliya refugee camp on Saturday, according to Hamas, the group that governs the Gaza Strip.

The victims were identified as Momen al-Nairab, five, Hazem Salem, nine, Khalil Shubair, 10, Ahmad al-Nairb, 11 and Khalil Abu Hamada, 19, according to Middle East Eye.

Amid the continued Israeli assault on Saturday, the Palestinian health ministry warned that health facilities in Gaza were facing a total shutdown within 72 hours.

Gaza’s sole power plant said it was forced to close down, as Israel prevented the entry of fuel trucks into Gaza for almost a week. The closure of the plant means that Gaza’s population will get only four hours of electricity a day. As a result of this, Gaza’s hospitals will face “difficult and decisive” hours, the ministry said in a statement.

“The power outage poses a serious threat to the work of vital departments in hospitals, especially emergency departments, intensive care, operations, dialysis departments, laboratories, nurseries, laundries, oxygen systems and medical gases,” the ministry added.

The UN envoy for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, said he was “deeply concerned” by the escalating violence.

“There can be no justification for any attacks against civilians,” said Wennesland following Israel’s bombardment.

Meanwhile the United States affirmed Israel’s right to defend itself by striking Gaza.

“We certainly urge all sides to avoid further escalation… We absolutely fully support Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorist groups that are taking the lives of innocent civilians in Israel,” US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss voiced her government’s support for Israel.

“The UK stands by Israel and its right to defend itself,” she tweeted.