Israel-Hamas war death toll ‘exceeds 30,000’ - GulfToday

Israel-Hamas war death toll ‘exceeds 30,000’

Children are the biggest casualties of the war.

The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said Thursday that the number of people killed in the Palestinian territory during the war between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas has surpassed 30,000.

"The number of martyrs exceeds 30,000," a ministry statement said. It added that the toll includes at least 79 deaths reported overnight.

Children have died of malnutrition in a Gaza hospital, the Hamas-ruled territory's health ministry said, as its overall toll for Palestinians killed in the almost five-month war.

While mediators say a truce deal between Israel and Hamas could be just days away, aid agencies have sounded the alarm about the dire humanitarian conditions and warned of a looming famine in Gaza's north.

Two children died of "dehydration and malnutrition" at Gaza City's Al-Shifa hospital, said health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al Qudra, calling for "immediate action" from international institutions to prevent more of such deaths.

Palestinians wait for humanitarian aid on a beachfront in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, on Sunday. File/AP

"The famine death toll among children rose to six martyrs," at least five of them in the besieged territory's north in recent days, he said. AFP was unable to independently verify the deaths.

Citing the deteriorating conditions in Gaza, USAID head Samantha Power said Israel needed to open more crossings so that "vitally needed humanitarian assistance can be dramatically surged".

"This is a matter of life and death," Power said in a video posted on social media platform X.

Mediators from Egypt, Qatar and the United States have been seeking a six-week pause in the war sparked by Hamas's October 7 attack on Israel, which in response vowed to eliminate the Palestinian Islamist group that rules in Gaza.

The UN has warned of famine in the Gaza Strip. File/AFP

Negotiators are hoping a truce can begin by the start of Ramadan, the holy Muslim month that kicks off March 10 or 11, depending on the lunar calendar.

The proposals reportedly include the release of some Israeli hostages held in Gaza in exchange for several hundred Palestinian detainees held by Israel.

Short of the complete withdrawal Hamas has called for, a source from the group said the deal might see Israeli forces leave "cities and populated areas", allowing the return of some displaced Palestinians and humanitarian relief.

US President Joe Biden is "pushing all of us to try to get this agreement over the finish line", said his secretary of state, Antony Blinken.

Agence France-Presse

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