War in Gaza: Officials say death toll past 30,000

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry reported the figure nearly five months after Israel began its military operation

The Palestinian territory's health ministry has accused Israeli forces of targeting civilians (photo: IANS)
The Palestinian territory's health ministry has accused Israeli forces of targeting civilians (photo: IANS)


More than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the Israel-Hamas war began after 7 October last year, according to officials at the Hamas-led Health Ministry in Gaza.

The United Nations and multiple humanitarian organizations consider the death toll and casualty numbers provided by Gaza's Health Ministry to be broadly reliable.

Though the ministry does not differentiate between civilian and militant deaths, around half of Gaza's 2.3 million inhabitants are children, and the UN says the majority of civilians killed have been women and children.

"The death toll in Gaza has surpassed 30,000 — a large majority women and children. Over 70,000 Palestinians have been injured. This horrific violence and suffering must end. Ceasefire," said World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a post on X.

Fighting began when Hamas-led militants launched a large-scale terror attack in southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostages, of whom Israel says 130 remain in captivity.

Israel's leadership vowed to destroy Hamas in the days that followed and began a ground offensive that has been expanded throughout the Palestinian territory.

Hamas is a designated terrorist organization by the EU, the US and a number of other countries.

Palestinians killed in deadly incident during aid distribution in Gaza City

Health authorities in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Thursday said over 100 people were killed while waiting for aid near Gaza City. In a statement on Facebook, the Health Ministry said 104 people had been killed and another 760 had been injured.

The Palestinian territory's Health Ministry accused Israeli forces of firing on the civilians. Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra said the incident took place at al-Nabusi roundabout to the west of Gaza City.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) posted what it said was aerial footage of the operation to bring humanitarian aid into northern Gaza. The IDF said the footage showed how "the Palestinian crowd attacked the trucks" resulting in dozens being killed "from overcrowding, crowding and trampling."

The IDF later said an initial probe showed about 10 of the injuries were caused by Israeli gunfire.

New Zealand lists Hamas as a terrorist group

New Zealand on Thursday declared that it now officially recognizes the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas as a terrorist organisation. Speaking about the October 7 terror attack in Israel, the government said "the organization as a whole bears responsibility for these horrific terrorist attacks."

Following this decision, Hamas' assets will be frozen in New Zealand and providing the group "material support" will be banned. "The terrorist attacks by Hamas in October 2023 were brutal and we have unequivocally condemned them," New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said in a statement.

Luxon clarified that designating Hamas as a terrorist group is "not a reflection on the Palestinian people in Gaza and around the world" while indicating humanitarian support would continue.

New Zealand had already classified the military wing of Hamas as a terrorist entity in 2010. Besides listing Hamas as a terror group, New Zealand also imposed travel bans on what officials called "extremist" Israeli settlers who it said had violently attacked Palestinians in the West Bank.

Luxon also said he was "seriously concerned by the significant increase in extremist violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers" against Palestinians in recent months.

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