A total of 21,978 Palestinians have been killed and 56,697 wounded in the ongoing Israeli strikes since 7 October, the Health Ministry in Gaza announced on Monday.
During a press conference, Ministry Spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said, “There have been 57,697 injuries, and alarmingly, 70% of those killed were women and children.” He reported that 326 healthcare workers were amongst the casualties and 104 ambulances have been destroyed. “150 healthcare facilities in the Gaza Strip have been directly targeted, incapacitating 30 hospitals and 53 health centres and greatly debilitating our medical services,” al-Qudra added.
He raised serious concerns about the detention of health personnel by Israel. “They are subjected to severe cold, hunger and torture during interrogations,” he said, urging UN institutions to take action to protect healthcare systems and staff.
“In the shelters, 50,000 pregnant women and 900,000 children are facing severe health challenges due to a lack of basic necessities,” al-Qudra said appealing to the international community for urgent medical aid and assistance.
He also addressed the wider humanitarian situation: “1.9 million displaced persons are suffering from acute shortages of drinkable water, sanitation, food, and medical supplies, living in deplorable conditions.” He criticised the Israeli restrictions on medical aid, noting that only 645 injured Palestinians have been able to receive treatment abroad.
Al-Qudra called on international organisations, particularly the Red Cross and UN bodies, to visit and advocate for the release of detained medical staff.
Meanwhile, negotiations between Israel and Hamas for a new ceasefire are reportedly intensifying, with Hamas proposing a 40-day ceasefire and Israel agreeing to two weeks. This follows a ‘humanitarian pause’ amid Israel’s three-month-long attacks on Gaza. The talks, mediated by Qatar and Egypt, involve conditions like prisoner exchanges and increased humanitarian aid, but Israel’s War Council reportedly rejected Hamas’s initial proposal.