Gaza Death Toll Tops 5,000 As Israeli Troops, Hamas Face Off

Nearly 2,000 Palestinian children have been martyred while outbreaks of diseases are on the rise due to the absence of clean water, medication

Gaza Death Toll Tops 5,000 As Israeli Troops, Hamas Face Off

The death toll in Gaza due to Israeli aggression rocketed past 5,000, the Palestinian Health Ministry stated on Monday, even as Israeli ground troops and Hamas faced off in skirmishes.

In a bulletin issued by the Palestinian health ministry on Monday, it stated that thus far, some 5,087 people have been killed in Gaza while 15,273 people are injured. It cautioned that this did not represent the full number as an unknown number of bodies lie buried under the rubble of destroyed homes and other buildings.

Another 95 people have been killed in the West Bank, with 1,828 injured.

Of those martyred by Israeli aggression, 1,903 were children, 1,024 were women, and 187 were the elderly. Together, they comprise nearly 70% of the martyrs in the Israeli campaign since October 7.

The Palestinian government said that the situation, especially in Gaza, is worsening with outbreaks of diseases such as smallpox, scabies and diarrhoea due to the worsening sanitation environment and lack of clean water. 

To make matters worse, another three hospitals stopped operating after running out of fuel because Israeli airstrikes had attacked them. 

Currently, only 10 of the 35 hospitals in Gaza are operational. Those still working are on the brink of collapse, with a severe shortage of medicines, other medical goods, equipment and personnel.

Hospitals reported that they are forced to undertake surgeries without anaesthesia.

The Turkish hospital, which provides chemotherapy for 9,000 cancer patients, operates on a generator and has fuel only for the next 48 hours.

Over 40% of houses in Gaza have been destroyed, with some 1.4 million rendered displaced.

Israeli war campaign continues

Meanwhile, the Israeli war campaign on Gaza continued on Monday, pounding Gaza with airstrikes. 

On Sunday, Palestinian authorities reported that Israel had airdropped leaflets throughout Gaza City, warning residents that if they remained in their houses, they would be considered complicit with "terrorist organizations".

The Al Qassam Brigade, meanwhile, targeted the southern Israeli settlement in Ashkelon and Mavki'im. Israel's 'Iron Dome' missile interceptor system intercepted most of the rockets.

The few rockets that did make it through struck settlements, including apartment blocks.

Reports said that around 40 percent of Ashkelon's 170,000 population had been evacuated from the town, but many settlers remained. 

Ashkelon is located around seven kilometres from Gaza.

Meanwhile, some efforts by Israeli ground troops to venture into northern Gaza were met with fierce resistance and at least one Israeli tank was reported to have been disabled.

Israeli officials on Monday shed light on the end scenario for their current aggression, stating that Hamas will no longer rule the narrow strip.

"One thing is clear: the Gaza Strip will not be ruled by Hamas once this war is over," Israeli Government Spokesperson Eylon Levy told the media.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant stated that they were quickly moving towards the third phase of the conflict, where they will "remove Israel’s responsibility for life in the Gaza Strip, and the establish a new security reality for the citizens of Israel".

Separately, Israel continued to pound targets in the West Bank, Syria and Lebanon as fears mount that Israeli aggression could widen the conflict to engulf neighbouring countries.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Israeli troops near the border with Lebanon, terming it a "double battle".

He warned that if Hezbollah enters the ongoing conflict, it will be met with a force it cannot even imagine and that the destruction for Lebanon will be devastating.

"We are prepared for any scenario," he said.

Hezbollah, meanwhile, said they remain prepared for an escalation as border areas on the Israeli and Lebanese side were evacuated.

Trickle of aid 

After 14 aid trucks crossed over on Sunday, another 20 aid trucks crossed into Gaza on Monday, totalling 34. 

However, Palestinian authorities said this was just a fraction of the aid that Gaza received daily. Before the latest round of aggression, Gaza received up to 100 trucks a day for its two million population.

"It's nothing compared to the needs," said Leo Cans, the Head of Mission for Doctors without Borders.

Global outcry

The global outcry against the Israeli aggression continued with protests held across the world, from Paris to Pakistan, with large rallies staged on Sunday.

On Monday, the social media networking website 'X' (formerly known as Twitter) suspended the account of Palestinian journalist Motaz Azaiza, who had been posting images and videos of the destruction in Gaza.

The move was widely panned as misgivings over social media limiting reach and shadow-banning those accounts posting content about Palestine. 

Those who have worked at the social media giant warned that the algorithm used by these companies was smart enough to pick up on the differing terms used by people.