More than 5,000 Palestinians have died in the beleaguered Palestinian enclave of Gaza since Israel began its ferocious bombing assault more than two weeks ago, Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza confirmed.
The alarm has surged about the spiralling humanitarian crisis in Gaza amid the war sparked by the October 7 Hamas attack that, Israeli officials say, killed more than 1,400 people who were gunned down, stabbed or burnt by the Islamist militants.
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Also, more than 200 hostages were taken by Hamas.
Gaza’s health ministry said that the death toll had risen past 5,000, with about 40% of the victims being minors, on a day when Israel’s army reported more than 300 fresh attacks in less than 24 hours.
Thousands of buildings have been destroyed and more than one million people displaced in the territory that has been under siege and largely deprived of water, food and other basic supplies.
The United States, which has brokered the entry of the aid convoys, has vowed a “continued flow” of relief goods into Gaza, even as UN aid agencies have said far more is needed.
Fighting raged unabated overnight after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed again that Israel would “erase Hamas” and as a full-scale ground invasion loomed.
According to the Hamas-run government media office in Gaza, “more than 60 were martyred in the raids” throughout the course of the evening, including 17 in one attack that targeted a home in the northern part of the territory. At least 10 more people died in further attacks early on Monday, according to the report.
In the last 24 hours, “over 320 military targets in the Gaza Strip” had been struck, according to the Israeli military.
It said the targets “included tunnels containing Hamas terrorists, dozens of operational command centres” as well as “military compounds and observation posts” used by Islamic Jihad, another militant group.