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Over 8,000 Fatalities in Gaza as Israeli Forces Intensify Ground Operations

by Andrew Wright
8 comments
Israel-Hamas Conflict

Amid increasing desperation three weeks into the Israel-Hamas conflict, a United Nations agency reported that people in Gaza have resorted to looting aid warehouses for essential items like flour and hygiene products.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared a “second phase” of the military operations, which were initially triggered by a violent Hamas incursion into Israel on October 7. Israel has been launching extensive airstrikes and artillery fire on Gaza, in addition to a ground offensive involving tanks and infantry.

The Health Ministry of Gaza disclosed that the Palestinian death toll has exceeded 8,000—primarily women and children. This number sets a new grim record in the history of Israeli-Palestinian hostilities. The Israeli side has also seen substantial loss of life, with more than 1,400 individuals, largely civilians, perishing during the early stages of the conflict initiated by Hamas.

On Sunday, communications were restored in most of Gaza after extreme bombardments had disrupted the enclave’s 2.3 million inhabitants’ connectivity with the outside world since late Friday.

Additional Developments

Karim Khan, the lead prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, paid a visit to the Rafah border, Gaza’s lone entry point to Egypt, on Saturday. He was informed about the destruction inflicted by Israeli airstrikes, according to an unnamed senior Egyptian official. Khan’s office has initiated an inquiry into possible war crimes by Israel in Gaza related to the 2014 conflict.

Israeli defense forces have disclosed that over 450 militant installations were targeted during the last 24 hours. These included Hamas command structures and positions used to launch anti-tank missiles. Ground forces also eliminated multiple Hamas combatants who were emerging from a tunnel close to the Erez crossing, once the primary footpath into Israel prior to its destruction in the current conflict.

In an alarming development signifying the deterioration of civil order, Thomas White, the Gaza director for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), stated, “People are scared, frustrated and desperate.” UNRWA has been providing essential services to Gaza’s population, transforming its schools into shelters for Palestinians displaced by the conflict.

Israeli Humanitarian Efforts and Medical Concerns

Israeli authorities have indicated that an increase in humanitarian aid to Gaza is imminent, although specifics remain vague. Elad Goren, head of civil affairs of COGAT, the Israeli defense agency overseeing Palestinian civilian matters, mentioned the establishment of a “humanitarian zone” in southern Gaza, near the city of Khan Younis, without divulging further details.

Residents near Gaza’s largest medical facility, Shifa Hospital, have reported that Israeli airstrikes have complicated access to the hospital. Accusations that Hamas maintains a hidden command center below the hospital have been denied by the group.

U.S. Stance

Jake Sullivan, the U.S. National Security Adviser, emphasized the need to protect civilians but refrained from commenting on Israel’s intensified military actions. President Joe Biden is slated to discuss the situation with Netanyahu later in the day.

Ongoing Hostilities

Despite the severity of the conflict, rocket attacks from Palestinian militants into Israel continue. The Israeli military asserts that its strikes aim to neutralize Hamas personnel and infrastructure, arguing that the group operates amidst civilian populations, thus putting them at risk. Approximately 1.4 million people in Gaza have been displaced, many seeking refuge in UN-run schools and shelters.

Infrastructure and Health Services in Gaza

The conflict has caused Gaza’s sole power plant to cease operations. Hospitals are facing challenges in maintaining life-support systems, and UNRWA is attempting to keep essential services like water pumps and bakeries operational.

At Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, emergency director Dr. Mohammed Qandeel mentioned that around 20,000 civilians are taking shelter there. “I used to be afraid of my kids playing in the sand. Now their hands are dirty with the blood on the floor,” said a displaced resident identified as Umm Ahmad.

Contributors

Reporting was contributed by Magdy from Cairo, along with AP writers Julia Frankel and Amy Teibel in Jerusalem.

For More Information

Full AP coverage

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Israel-Hamas Conflict

What is the current death toll in the Israel-Hamas conflict?

The death toll in Gaza has surpassed 8,000, mostly consisting of women and minors. On the Israeli side, over 1,400 people have died, the majority of whom are civilians.

What sparked the recent escalation in the Israel-Hamas conflict?

The conflict was ignited by Hamas’ brutal incursion into Israel on October 7. In response, Israel launched a “second stage” in the war, involving ground troops, as well as air and naval bombardments.

What is the situation regarding aid and supplies in Gaza?

Thousands of people in Gaza broke into U.N. aid warehouses to take flour and basic hygiene products, indicating a growing level of desperation. Israel has allowed only a small trickle of aid to enter Gaza from Egypt.

What steps has the International Criminal Court taken?

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court visited the Rafah border crossing to assess the damage caused by Israeli airstrikes. His office has opened an investigation into potential war crimes by Israel in Gaza during the 2014 war.

What is the state of communication and utilities in Gaza?

Communications were restored to much of Gaza after intense bombardments knocked out most contact with the territory. Gaza’s sole power plant has also shut down, affecting hospitals and other essential services.

What is the condition of hospitals in Gaza?

Residents living near Gaza’s largest hospital, Shifa, reported Israeli airstrikes hitting close to the complex, complicating access. Hospitals are struggling to keep emergency generators running and are overcrowded with wounded patients and civilians seeking shelter.

What is the stance of the U.S. government on the Israel-Hamas conflict?

President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, emphasized the need to protect civilians and mentioned the U.S. believes “there should be humanitarian pauses to get hostages out, potentially to get aid in.”

Are there any safe zones established in Gaza?

Elad Goren, head of civil affairs of COGAT, the Israeli defense body responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs, mentioned a “humanitarian zone” near the southern city of Khan Younis but provided no further details.

What is the status of Israeli military operations?

The Israeli military has struck over 450 militant targets in the past 24 hours and is gradually expanding its ground operations inside Gaza. The operations include strikes on Hamas command centers and anti-tank missile launching positions.

What is Hamas demanding for the release of hostages?

Hamas has stated it is willing to release all hostages if Israel releases all of the thousands of Palestinians held in its prisons. Israel has dismissed the offer.

More about Israel-Hamas Conflict

  • Israel-Hamas Conflict: Full Coverage
  • International Criminal Court Investigation into Israel-Gaza War
  • UNRWA’s Role in Providing Aid in Gaza
  • Latest Developments in the Israel-Gaza Conflict
  • U.S. Government Stance on Israel-Hamas Conflict
  • Status of Humanitarian Aid in Gaza
  • State of Hospitals and Healthcare in Gaza
  • Update on Israeli Military Operations in Gaza
  • Overview of Palestinian Civilian Casualties
  • Conditions in Gaza Amid War

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8 comments

Karen White October 29, 2023 - 8:15 pm

Hospitals can’t even evacuate without endangering lives. How did things get so messed up?

Reply
John Smith October 29, 2023 - 10:58 pm

This is seriously bad on all sides. where’s the UN when you actually need ’em?

Reply
Mike Anderson October 29, 2023 - 11:42 pm

So many militant targets but what about all the civilians caught in the crossfire? The numbers are just insane.

Reply
Rachel Green October 30, 2023 - 5:55 am

Aid is barely trickling in from Egypt? The situation’s gotta be dire for ppl to start breaking into UN warehouses.

Reply
Steven Black October 30, 2023 - 9:22 am

Our leaders need to do something, not just talk. real actions, not just statements.

Reply
Robert Clark October 30, 2023 - 2:08 pm

Netanyahu says it’s gonna be long and difficult. Sounds like no end in sight. Truly awful.

Reply
Emily Williams October 30, 2023 - 4:09 pm

The death toll is just staggering. I can’t even imagine what people there are going thru.

Reply
Sarah Lee October 30, 2023 - 4:10 pm

I can’t believe this is the world we live in. Whole families are being wiped out. it’s beyond words.

Reply

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