Palestinian health officials in Gaza said on Tuesday that they have lost the ability to count the dead because of the collapse of parts of the enclave’s health system and the difficulty of retrieving bodies from areas overrun by Israeli tanks and troops.
The health ministry in Gaza, which is run by Hamas, the Palestinian armed group that controls the enclave, said that it faced “unprecedented challenges” in updating the number of casualties due to the Israeli bombardment, which has destroyed or damaged many hospitals, clinics, ambulances and communication networks.
The ministry said that it could not reach some of the hospitals in the north and east of Gaza, where the Israeli ground forces have advanced and cut off the access roads. It also said that it could not collect the bodies of the victims from the rubble or the streets, due to the ongoing shelling and the presence of snipers.
The ministry said that it relied on the testimonies of the survivors and the eyewitnesses, as well as the reports of the local and international media, to estimate the death toll. However, it admitted that the actual number could be much higher, as many of the victims remained buried or missing.
Dead People Everywhere
The ministry said that the latest total since October 7, when the war began, showed 12,320 people killed, including 5,650 children or minors. In addition, 202 medical personnel have been killed and 3,600 civilians, including 1,750 children, have been declared missing, the ministry said.
An official from Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip, said on Tuesday that 25 of the 35 hospitals in the enclave were out of use due to the bombardment. He also said that the remaining hospitals were overwhelmed with the wounded and the sick, and that they lacked the basic supplies and equipment.
The war between Israel and Hamas has caused immense suffering and damage to both sides, as well as to the civilian population in Gaza. The UN has said that more than half of Gaza’s population lacks access to basic services and humanitarian aid, and that more than 30,000 people have been injured by Israeli attacks.
The international community has urged both sides to de-escalate the situation and resume negotiations for a lasting peace. However, both Israel and Hamas have rejected any calls for a ceasefire without meeting their conditions.
Israel has demanded that Hamas stop firing rockets and disarm completely. Hamas has demanded that Israel end its blockade of Gaza and its occupation of East Jerusalem.