The Gaza-based Hamas government has disclosed that the death toll resulting from clashes between Israeli forces and Hamas militants in the Palestinian territory has soared to 13,000 since the conflict commenced on October 7.
Israeli sources claim that Hamas militants killed approximately 1,200 individuals, primarily civilians, and took around 240 individuals hostage following their breach of the Gaza border last month, provoking retaliatory strikes from Israel.
According to AFP reports, the Hamas government reported that over 5,500 children and 3,500 women were among the deceased, with an additional 30,000 individuals sustaining injuries. The health ministry has acknowledged difficulties in providing precise figures due to the ongoing intense combat, hindering the recovery of bodies.
On Sunday, the US White House announced an investigation into the destructive explosion that occurred at a United Nations-operated school and shelter in northern Gaza, as confirmed by a representative.
The UN Relief and Works Agency, responsible for managing schools in Palestinian refugee camps and serving as Gaza’s primary UN relief agency, verified the strike on Saturday, marking the second attack on a UNRWA school in northern Gaza within 24 hours. Concerns over the escalating civilian casualties resulting from Israel’s offensive in the Palestinian territory have been raised by leaders and human rights workers.
Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer, as reported by CNN, mentioned that Washington is actively gathering information regarding the strikes on the UN-managed shelter in Gaza from Saturday. Finer emphasized the unacceptability of causing harm to innocent civilians seeking refuge in a UN facility, expressing the US government’s stance on the matter during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also expressed deep shock on Sunday, following the strikes on two UN schools in Gaza within a day, resulting in casualties, including numerous women and children seeking safety within United Nations premises. Guterres reiterated the inviolable nature of UN facilities and the plight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians taking shelter there due to the intensified conflict in Gaza.