Above photo: Palestinian relatives wait to collect teh bodies of victims at Al-Aqsa Hospital following an air strike on Dair El-Balah in Central Gaza Strip on October 27, 2023. Ashtawy/APA Images.
After Biden cast doubts on death toll.
Following comments by President Biden that he does not trust the death toll reported by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, the ministry released a report with the names, ages and ID numbers of close to 7,000 victims of Israel’s war on Gaza.
- 7,326 Palestinians killed and 18,967 wounded in Gaza
- 110 Palestinians killed and 1,956 wounded in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem
- 1,405 Israelis killed and 5,445 wounded
- Following comments from the Biden administration casting doubt on the Gaza death toll, Gaza’s health ministry released a list of 6,747 names of Palestinians confirmed to have been killed since October 7, saying “We will announce in detail and before the entire world the truth about the genocidal war committed by the Israeli occupation against our people.”
- The Israeli army announced that it had launched another “limited” ground raid into Gaza overnight, as its continued airstrikes hit the besieged Palestinian territory
- At least four Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces during raids in the occupied West Bank, with dozens more imprisoned
- The United Nations General Assembly held an emergency special session on Gaza as the Security Council fails to pass resolution on the matter
- UNRWA commissioner-general says, ‘History will judge us all if there is no ceasefire in Gaza’
Gaza Health Ministry releases names of Palestinians killed after Biden questions death toll
The Ministry of Health in Gaza released on Thursday evening a list of 6,747 Palestinians confirmed killed since Israel began carpet bombing the blockaded enclave on October 7.
The list, which includes names, ages, gender, and ID numbers for each casualty identified as of the afternoon of October 26, does not include people still trapped under rubble, those who were buried directly without being brought to hospitals, and those whose details had yet to be confirmed and processed by health officials – meaning that hundreds have yet to be officially identified, according to the ministry’s own estimates.
The release of the list came a day after U.S. President Joe Biden cast doubts over the accuracy of the death tolls reported from Gaza, saying: “I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed.”
Washington has since doubled down, with National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby saying in a press briefing on Thursday that “we can’t take anything coming out of Hamas, including the so-called Ministry of Health, at face value.”
“And I don’t need to tell you how to do your jobs, but if you’re going to report casualty figures out of Gaza, I would frankly recommend you don’t choose numbers put out by an organization that’s run by a terrorist organization,” Kirby further told the journalists in attendance.
The United Nations and many non-governmental organizations regularly cite data coming out of the Gaza Ministry of Health – and Kirby himself acknowledged that White House staff has referenced information coming out of the ministry in internal messages in the past. Israel has further tightened its already stringent blockade on Gaza in recent weeks, making it nearly impossible for third parties to make their own independent estimates of casualties.
“The American administration was stripped of all human standards, morals, and basic human rights values to […] shamelessly question the validity of the announced numbers,” Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said in a statement on Thursday.
“We also call on all institutions to review the work system in the Ministry of Health so that the world knows that behind every announced number is the story of a person whose name and identity are known. Our people are not nobodies who can be ignored,” he added.
“We will announce in detail and before the entire world the truth about the genocidal war committed by the Israeli occupation against our people before the eyes and ears of the world since October 7.”
As of Friday afternoon, the Ministry of Health estimated that 7,326 Palestinians had been killed and another 18,967 wounded in Gaza since October 7.
Of those killed, 3,038 are children. According to Defense for Children International – Palestine, another 940 Palestinian children are believed to be trapped under rubble.
“Israeli forces are actively committing the crime of genocide against Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip,” DCIP senior policy adviser Brad Parker said. “The United States is not simply standing by, but is actively enabling and supporting the gravest crime under international law.”
Israeli airstrikes on Gaza continue as army launches ‘limited’ ground raid
At least 298 people were killed in Gaza in the span of 24 hours, the Ministry of Health reported on Friday afternoon.
The Israeli army announced that its ground forces, backed by drones and fighter jets, had entered northern Gaza on Thursday night for the third time in 24 hours, adding that no Israeli casualties had been reported. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant vowed in a televised address on Thursday evening that a large-scale ground invasion of Gaza was looming: “We are in decisive moments. This is a war for our home and we will win it. It’s either us or them.”
Palestinian sources said early on Friday that they recorded two ground incursions of Israeli tanks and military vehicles on the outskirts of Beit Hanoun and al-Bureij in northern Gaza, adding that, despite heavy gunfire, Israeli forces remained in open areas and close to the fence.
Meanwhile, WAFA news agency reported that overnight Israeli air strikes between Thursday and Friday had killed dozens across the Gaza Strip. Strikes reportedly hit a number of residential buildings in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza. At least one journalist, identified by WAFA as Yaser Abu Namous, was among those killed overnight.
In al-Shati refugee camp near Gaza City, an airstrike reportedly completely destroyed Al-Abyad Mosque, causing a number of casualties.
The Israeli army said on Friday that over the past day, it carried out more than 250 airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, according to Israeli media. Despite on-the-ground reports of civilian casualties and residential areas being hit, the Israeli army claimed its airstrikes targeted “Hamas sites” in Gaza.
The Ministry of Health has meanwhile reported that “unknown weapons” have caused “severe burns and melting of the skin” in an untold number of wounded coming for medical treatment.
Israel is accused of using white phosphorus in Gaza and Lebanon in recent weeks, which Human Rights Watch has denounced as a violation of humanitarian law. Meanwhile, some media outlets have shared unconfirmed reports that Israel is planning to use nerve gas or other chemical weapons in Gaza.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that only 74 trucks of humanitarian aid have entered Gaza since October 21, noting that an average of 500 trucks used to enter the Palestinian territory every working day prior to October 7.
Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip struck a residential building in Tel Aviv on Friday afternoon, injuring three people, Israeli media reported.
Israeli forces also exchanged fire with armed groups in Lebanon on Friday. An Israeli airstrike reportedly sparked a wildfire in southern Lebanon, with Lebanese Civil Defense accusing Israel of deliberately targeting firefighters while they attempted to extinguish the blaze.
Israeli forces kill four Palestinians in occupied West Bank
At least four Palestinians have been killed in overnight raids across the occupied West Bank between Thursday and Friday, WAFA news agency reported.
Two men, identified as Ayser Mohammad Al-Amer and Jawad Al-Turki, were killed in Jenin refugee camp, while Abdullah Basam Abu Al-Haija was killed after being shot several times in the town of Yamun, west of Jenin. A fourth Palestinian, 26-year-old Qassam Abdelhafiz, was killed after Israeli forces shot him in the chest in Qalqiliya.
The fatalities occurred as Palestinian resistance groups engaged in armed confrontations with Israeli forces in Jenin and Qalqiliya. The Jenin Brigade, a local armed resistance group in the Jenin refugee camp, identified al-Amer as one of their “most prominent leaders,” saying that he was killed while defending the camp from Israeli forces. Mondoweiss could not independently confirm whether the remaining slain Palestinians were involved in the fighting.
Armed confrontations between Palestinian resistance groups and fighters were reported across several districts in the West Bank overnight, including in Nablus, Jericho, Tubas, and Hebron.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces shot and killed 15-year-old Osaid Hamza Mahmoud Hmaidat in al-Jalazone refugee camp near Ramallah on Thursday afternoon as he and other Palestinian students were leaving school.
The killings come as at least 45 Palestinians were arrested overnight across the West Bank.
The number of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel has reportedly doubled since October 7, with prisoners’ rights group Addameer estimating that at least 5,266 Palestinians had been detained between October 7 and October 24, the vast majority of them workers from Gaza in Israel whose permits were all revoked – a massive jump from the 5,200 recorded prisoners before October 7. At least two Palestinians have died in Israeli custody since the beginning of the onslaught.
U.N. General Assembly to vote on resolution calling for ceasefire
Members of the United Nations General Assembly are set to vote on Friday on a resolution put forward by Jordan calling for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.
“You are speaking while families are being killed, hospitals are coming to a halt, neighborhoods are being destroyed, and people are fleeing from one place to another with no safe place to go,” UN Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine Riyadh Mansour said in a speech to the General Assembly on Thursday. “If you do not stop it for all those who have been killed, stop it for all those who can be saved.”
The General Assembly, which has representatives from all 193 member states of the U.N., holds less power than the smaller Security Council, which has seen several attempts at passing a resolution vetoed amid divisions between its members.
Meanwhile, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini has called for international humanitarian law to be respected and for an immediate ceasefire to take place in order to allow the unrestricted entry of fuel, medicine, water, and food into Gaza.
“Dag Hammarskjöld, the second UN secretary-general, once said: ‘The UN was not created in order to bring us to heaven, but in order to save us from hell.’ The reality today in Gaza is that there is not much humanity left and hell is settling in,” Lazzarini wrote. “The generations to come will know that we watched this human tragedy unfold over social media and news channels. We will not be able to say we did not know. History will ask why the world did not have the courage to act decisively and stop this hell on Earth.”