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Death toll soars to over 15,500 as Israeli attacks on Gaza Strip continue

"The toll of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip reached 15,523 martyrs" since Oct. 7, the Health Ministry Spokesperson Ashraf al-Qedra said on Sunday in a news conference.

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published December 03,2023
Palestinians check the damages after an Israeli strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 3, 2023. (AFP Photo)

The death toll from Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip has surged to 15,523 since the start of the conflict on Oct. 7, the Health Ministry in the besieged Palestinian enclave announced Sunday.

"The toll of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip reached 15,523 martyrs" since Oct. 7, ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qedra said in a news conference.

The number of wounded through the same period has risen to 41,316, Al-Qedra added.

On the number of killed healthcare personnel, al-Qedra confirmed that total at 281, with hundreds injured. Additionally, 56 ambulances and the same number of health facilities have been completely destroyed, while 20 hospitals are out of service, along with 46 primary care centers, he added.

Al-Qedra noted that Israeli forces arrested four paramedics on Saturday despite their prior coordination, as they were heading northward from Khan Yunis in the south to evacuate the wounded.

"The detainees include the director of ambulance services in southern Gaza, Anis al-Astal, and paramedics Muhammad Abu Samak, Hamdan Anaba, and Abdel Karim Abu Ghali," he said.

Israel still holds 35 healthcare professionals from the Gaza Strip, including Mohammed Abu Selmiya, the general director of the Al-Shifa Medical Complex, "under harsh conditions and interrogation under torture, hunger, and thirst," added the official.

He also confirmed that since Oct. 7, a total of 403 wounded and sick have left the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt to receive treatment abroad.

Meanwhile, more than 1.5 million displaced people are in shelters, he added.

Calling for "immediate action" to establish a humanitarian corridor for medical supplies, fuel, field hospitals, medical teams, and the evacuation of hundreds of wounded, al-Qedra urged the UN and the World Health Organization to exert pressure on Israel to "immediately release our healthcare professionals."

He emphasized the need to "find effective and urgent mechanisms to prevent the humanitarian and health disaster for more than 1.5 million displaced persons in shelters."

"The wounded are bleeding to death due to a lack of required health services in northern Gaza, as a result of the Israeli occupation targeting the remaining hospitals to take them out of service and forcing the population to evacuate," said al-Qedra.

"The Israeli occupation wants to end the Palestinian presence in the Gaza Strip, either by killing or forced displacement under bombardment. It has expanded the targeting of civilians after the cease-fire, leaving no inch in the Gaza Strip without bombardment," he added.

The Israeli army resumed bombing the Gaza Strip early Friday after declaring an end to a week-long humanitarian pause.

At least 509 Palestinians have been killed and 1,316 injured since Friday in Israeli airstrikes, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

Israel launched relentless air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7.

The official Israeli death toll stands at 1,200.