Palestine death toll cross 5,000, nearly half of them children: Health ministry

Israel carries out a massacre bombing in Palestine. [Photo: X/WAFA News]

Nearly 5,100 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza since Israel launched a relentless bombing campaign against the besieged enclave following attacks by Hamas, which were in response to decades long occupational crimes by Israel, more than two weeks ago, according to health officials.

About 4o% of the 5,087 people killed are children, Gaza’s Ministry of Health said on Monday, the day when Israel’s army said it carried out more than 300 new air attacks within 24 hours. Palestinian officials said more than 400 people were killed in that period, as reported by Al Jazeera.

Thousands of buildings have been destroyed, and more than one million people displaced in the territory, which has been under siege and largely deprived of water, food and other basic supplies.

Fighting raged unabated overnight after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised that Israel would “erase Hamas”, an armed group that runs Gaza, as a full-scale ground invasion loomed.

Meanwhile, the United Nations on Monday said that the number of people killed in Gaza has exceeded 5,000 according to latest reports from de facto authorities there, amid intensifying Israeli airstrikes, while humanitarians repeated urgent calls for a ceasefire and more aid convoys.

UN health agency (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issued a new appeal on Monday for “sustained safe passage” for medical essentials and fuel to keep health facilities open.

“Lives depend on these decisions,” he insisted on social platform X. Women and children have made up more than 62 per cent of the fatalities, while more than 15,273 people have been injured, the UN said.

In addition to the overall death toll, the number of UN staff members working with the Palestine refugee agency UNRWA, has reached 35, according to the latest situation report released late on Monday. A further 18 staffers have been injured. At least 40 UNRWA installations have been damaged since the violence began on 7 October. 

UNRWA said nearly 600,000 internally displaced are sheltering in 150 UNRWA facilities overall with nearly 420,000 seeking refuge in 93 of the agency’s shelters in Middle, Khan Younis and Rafah areas, further to the south – that’s an increase of around 14,000 civilians in the past 24 hours.

In its latest humanitarian update on the crisis UN humanitarian aid coordination office, OCHA, said that more than 1,000 have been reported missing and “are presumed to be trapped or dead under the rubble”.

The largest medical facility in Gaza, Shifa hospital, is now treating around 5,000 patients, many times beyond its normal figure of around 700. 

The UN Spokesperson said on Monday that the average number of people staying in Gaza shelters is 4,400, around 2.5 times their designated capacity. Around 70 civilians are sharing space in each UNRWA classroom.

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