Palestinian death toll in Gaza conflict rises to 3,478, says Gaza Health Ministry
70% of casualties are children, women, and elderly, says spokesperson for Gaza Health Ministry
The death toll in the Gaza Strip from Israeli airstrikes and raids since Oct. 7 has risen to approximately 3,478, with over 12,000 injuries, Gaza’s Health Ministry said Wednesday.
Ashraf Al-Qedra, ministry spokesman, announced the figures at a news conference, stressing the “grave consequences of the ongoing Israeli aggression.”
Al-Qedra stressed that “the series of massacres committed by the Israeli occupation constitute an act of ethnic cleansing and pose a threat to Palestinian existence.”
“The total casualties from the Israeli aggression have reached 3,478 deaths and 12,065 injuries with varying degrees of severity,” he added, underscoring that 70% of the victims are children, women, and the elderly.
He also said: “The Israeli occupation's massacres of families have impacted 433 families, with 2,421 killed being taken to hospitals, and hundreds of them still trapped under the rubble.”
The figures came one day after at least 471 people were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, according to Palestinian officials in the besieged enclave. Israel, however, has denied responsibility for the air raid.
It is unclear if Wednesday’s figures include the hospital bombing.
The conflict began on Oct. 7 when Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, a multi-pronged surprise attack that included a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel by land, sea, and air. It said the incursion was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and growing violence by Israeli settlers.
The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.
UN chief Antonio Guterres has called for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” to ease the “epic human suffering.”
More than 1,400 people in Israel have died in the conflict.
*Writing by Rania Abu Shamala
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