Gaza Death Toll Surpasses 21,000 as Israel Continues Attacks Despite Calls for Ceasefire

Wed Dec 27 2023
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GAZA CITY: The Gaza Strip’s health ministry reported on Wednesday that the death toll from Israeli bombardments had surged above 21,000, with approximately two-thirds of the casualties being women and children. Israeli air strikes and shelling continued despite international concerns over the escalating humanitarian crisis. Israel’s armed forces chief warned that the attacks, which began on October 7, would endure for “many more months.”

Explosions lit the sky over Khan Younis in southern Gaza, a focal point of intense bombardments since the Israeli army claimed operational control over Gaza’s north. While firefights continued around Gaza City in the north, an airstrike near Rafah wounded 11 civilians in the far-southern city, densely populated with internally displaced Palestinians.

The spiraling humanitarian crisis has intensified calls for an end to hostilities, with Gaza’s 2.4 million people facing severe shortages of water, food, fuel, and medicine. The United Nations estimates that 1.9 million Gazans have been displaced.

Israel Vows to Continue Military Operation in Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly vowed to continue the military campaign in Gaza, which has seen relentless bombardment, a siege, and a ground invasion since October 27. The latest toll from Gaza’s health ministry reported at least 21,110 Palestinian deaths and over 55,000 people wounded.

In a resolution last week, the UN Security Council called for the “safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale,” yet the resolution did not demand an immediate cessation of hostilities, leaving Israel with operational oversight of aid deliveries.

Rafah residents faced challenges accessing clean water, with many resorting to unconventional means, such as using carts meant for selling fish to transport water. Fuel shortages forced people in various parts of the city to burn wood for cooking and warmth.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, in an interview on Egyptian television, described the Israeli bombardments in Gaza as going “beyond a catastrophe and a genocide.” He accused Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu of aiming to “get rid of the Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority.”

The conflict’s impact is not confined to Gaza, as violence flares across the occupied West Bank, with over 310 Palestinians killed by Israeli troops or settlers. An Israeli operation in a West Bank refugee camp claimed six lives early Wednesday, according to the territory’s health ministry.

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