April 24th, 2024

Death toll in Gaza war passes 30,000, Health Ministry says

By Wafaa Shurafa And Kareem Chehayeb, The Associated Press on February 29, 2024.

Workers remove rubble at the site where three Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in Faraa refugee camp near the West Bank town of Tubas, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. Israeli troops shot and killed three Palestinian men including Mohamed Daraghmeh, a co-founder of the local branch of the Islamic Jihad militant group, in the northern town of Tubas, early Tuesday, Palestinian health authorities said. Thee was no immediate comment from the Israeli military. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) – The Gaza Health Ministry said Thursday that over 30,000 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the Israel-Hamas war nearly five months ago.

The deadliest violence in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict erupted when Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 250 hostages.

Israel responded with one of the deadliest and most destructive military campaigns in recent history. The war has driven 80% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million Palestinians from their homes, and U.N. officials say a quarter of the population is starving.

The ministry said that 30,035 have been killed and another 70,457 wounded since the start of the war.

Gaza’s Health Ministry, which is part of the Hamas-run government, maintains detailed records of casualties. Its counts from previous wars have largely matched those of the U.N., independent experts and even Israel’s own tallies.

The ministry does not differentiate between civilians and combatants in its count but says women and children make up around two-thirds of those killed. It says the actual toll is higher because there are bodies buried under the rubble and in areas that medics can’t reach.

Israel has vowed to continue the war until it destroys Hamas’ military and governing capabilities and returns the over 100 hostages still held by the group.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) – An apparent Israeli strike on a crowd of Palestinians waiting for humanitarian aid in Gaza City on Thursday has killed and wounded dozens, according to local hospital officials.

Gaza City and the rest of northern Gaza were the first targets of Israel’s air, sea and ground offensive launched in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. The area has suffered widespread devastation and has been largely isolated from the rest of the territory for months, with little aid entering.

Aid groups say it has become nearly impossible to deliver humanitarian assistance in most of Gaza, in part because of the crowds of desperate people who overwhelm aid convoys. The U.N. says a quarter of Gaza’s 2.3 million Palestinians face starvation.

Dr. Jadallah Shafai, the head of the nursing department at Shifa Hospital, told the Al Jazeera network that around 50 people were killed and 250 wounded. He did not provide a precise toll. Al Jazeera ran footage showing several bodies and injured people arriving at Shifa.

Dr. Hussam Abu Safiya, the director of the Kamal Adwan Hospital, said it had received at least 10 bodies and 160 wounded people.

Fares Afana, the head of the ambulance service at Kamal Adwan, said medics arriving at the scene found “dozens or hundreds” lying on the ground. He said there were not enough ambulances to collect all the dead and wounded and that some were being brought to hospitals on donkey carts.

Dr, Mohammad Salha, the acting director of the Al-Awda Hospital, said it received 90 wounded and three dead, who were transferred to Kamal Adwan.

“We expect a rise in the number killed,” he said. “There are many wounded still at the reception and the emergency room.”

He said Al-Awda is largely out of commission, with no electricity and the operating room running on battery power with only hours left. Gaza’s health sector is under severe strain nearly five months into the Israel-Hamas war.

The Israeli military said it was looking into the reports.

Gaza’s Health Ministry did not immediately provide an official toll from the strike. It says nearly 30,000 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the war, two-thirds of them women and children. Its count does not differentiate between civilians and combatants.

The Hamas attack into southern Israel that ignited the war killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and the militants seized around 250 hostages. Hamas is still holding around 130 hostages, a quarter of whom are believed to be dead, after releasing most of the others during a weeklong cease-fire in November.

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Chehayeb reported from Beirut.

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Find more of AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

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