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Home / News / Gaza Health ministry says war death toll ‘exceeds 30,000’

Gaza Health ministry says war death toll ‘exceeds 30,000’

The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said Thursday that the number of people killed in the Palestinian territory during the war between militants and Israel 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.

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.

“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,” Ms 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 7 October attack on Israel, which in response vowed to eliminate the Palestinian Islamist group that rules in Gaza.

Negotiators are hoping a truce can begin by the start of Ramadan.

World Food Programme said no humanitarian group has delievred aid to the north for more than a month

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.

Famine ‘imminent’

The crucial southern Gaza city of Rafah is the main entry point for aid crossing the border from neighbouring Egypt.

However the World Food Programme said no humanitarian group had been able to deliver aid to the north for more than a month, accusing Israel of blocking access.

Neighbouring Jordan has coordinated efforts to air-drop supplies over southern Gaza.

“If nothing changes, a famine is imminent in northern Gaza,” the World Food Programme’s deputy executive director Carl Skau said.

Read more about the Middle East conflict

Israeli officials have denied blocking supplies, and the army on Wednesday said “50 trucks carrying humanitarian aid” had made it to northern Gaza in recent days.

The war was triggered by an unprecedented Hamas attack on southern Israel that resulted in the deaths of around 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official Israeli figures.

Displaced Palestinians gather for food in Rafah

Militants also took about 250 hostages, 130 of whom remain in Gaza, including 31 presumed dead, according to Israel.

In less than five months, Israel’s retaliatory military campaign in Gaza has killed at least 29,954 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

Hundreds of thousands of Gazans have been displaced, with nearly 1.5 million people now packed in Rafah.

Israel has repeatedly threatened a ground offensive on Rafah, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying a truce would only delay it, as such an operation was needed for “total victory” over Hamas.

Egypt, which borders Rafah, says an assault on the overcrowded city would have “catastrophic repercussions”.

No one ‘left behind’

While Israel’s plans for post-war Gaza exclude any mention of the Palestinian Authority, its top ally the United States and other powers have called for a revitalised PA, which governs the occupied West Bank, to take charge of the territory.

Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki said a “technocratic” government without Gaza’s rulers Hamas was needed to “stop this insane war” and facilitate relief operations and reconstruction.

His government, based in the West Bank, resigned this week, with prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh citing the need for change after the war ends.

A man searches through rubble of a building badly damaged by Israeli bombardment

Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Fatah, were expected to arrive in Moscow for a meeting at Russia’s invitation.

In Israel, Mr Netanyahu has come under increasing pressure to bring the hostages home.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant insisted the government was “making every effort”.

A group of 150 Israelis started a four-day march from Reim, near the Gaza border, to Jerusalem, calling for the government to reach a deal.

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