Gaza: As Israel continued heavy bombardments from the air, sea, and land across the Gaza Strip in retaliation against the October 7 Hamas attack, the death toll in the coastal enclave is nearing 1,200, while the number of internally displaced persons spiked to 338,934 on Thursday — a 30 per cent increase in just 24 hours, authorities said.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said that at least 51 people were killed and 281 others injured in the airstrikes in the past 24 hours, CNN reported.
The new figures have increased the overall death toll to nearly 1,200, while the number of injured persons have shot up to 5,339, including 1,217 children and 744 women, the Ministry said.
Addressing reporters, Deputy Health Minister Yousef Abu Al-Rish said that all hospital beds in the Hamas-controlled enclave had been occupied, and medicines were about to run out, reports Xinhua news agency.
Abu Al-Rish added that the Ministry was using the limited power of generators to continue emergency services for the injured and sick people, because the Gaza Strip’s power plant had run out of fuel and electricity had been cut off by Israel.
Some of the victims are still under the rubble, he said while accusing Israeli forces of intending “to cause as much damage and destruction, hence destroying entire residential areas”.
The Minister described the situation as an “imminent humanitarian catastrophe”.
“More than 600,000 of Gaza’s population are deprived from water, and entire hospitals are deprived from water,” he added.
In its latest situation update, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that of the total displaced persons in Gaza, 218,597 or 65 per cent were taking shelter in 92 schools run by the UN Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) as of Thursday morning.
“Numerous residential buildings in densely populated areas, including Al Karama neighborhood in Gaza North, as well as Al Rimal, and Al Naser in Gaza city have been among the most heavily targeted, leading to casualties among the elderly, women, and children,” the OCHA said.
Since the start of hostilities, at least 28 Palestinian families have had all their members killed.
According to the Gaza Ministry of Public Works and Housing, at least 2,540 housing units have been destroyed, or severely damaged and rendered uninhabitable, and another 22,850 sustained moderate to minor damage.
Meanwhile, more than 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed by Palestinians in Israel, according to Israel Ministry of Health.
At least 3,192 people have been injured, the Ministry said, adding that the vast majority of the Israeli casualties occurred on October 7.