Death toll in Gaza from Israel-Islamic Jihad violence rises to 44

(CNN) — Forty-four Palestinians have been killed since the ongoing escalation between Israel and Islamic Jihad militants began on Friday, according to figures released by the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Of the total deaths, 15 were children.

Israel insists that most of those killed in its airstrikes were militants. Islamic Jihad said it will not release the names of its dead fighters until the latest escalation is over.

There are also conflicting claims about responsibility for some of the deaths. The Palestinian Ministry of Health claimed Saturday’s blast, which killed four children, was caused by an Israeli airstrike, but Israel rejected the claim, blaming missed rocket fire.

The Israel Defense Forces released a video showing what they say was the Islamic Jihad rocket apparently losing power and falling to the ground on a built-up area.

The Presidency of the Palestinian Authority, which is based in the West Bank and has very limited influence over events in Gaza, strongly condemned Israel’s military operation and calls for a forceful response when the UN Security Council later holds a special session. to discuss escalation.

The international community “must shoulder its responsibilities and put an end to this aggression,” presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh told the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

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