Israel-Hamas war: Palestinian death toll in Gaza passes 25,000

Rafah, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Palestinian death toll in the war between Israel and Hamas has surpassed 25,000, the health ministry in the Gaza Strip said Sunday, while the Israeli government fell short of its goals to crush the militant group. Freed more than 100 hostages.

Already the state of death, destruction and displacement from war is without precedent In the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli officials say fighting will continue for months.

Slow progress and the plight of hostages in Gaza have divided ordinary Israelis and their leaders Also offensive threatens to spark a wider war It includes pro-Iran groups in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen that support the Palestinians.

The United States, which has provided essential diplomatic and military support for the offensive, has had limited success in persuading Israel to adopt military tactics that put civilians at less risk and make it easier. Delivery and humanitarian aid. So has Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Rejected US and international calls Post-war plans include a path to Palestinian statehood.

Gaza death toll climbs amid blistering attack

The war began with a surprise attack by Hamas in southern Israel on October 7, during which Palestinian militants killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took 250 hostages back to Gaza.

Israel responded with a blistering three-week air campaign, followed by a ground invasion of northern Gaza. Whole neighborhoods are wasted. Ground operations now focus on the southern city of Khan Younis and refugee camps built in central Gaza. The war surrounding the creation of Israel in 1948.

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Israel continues to carry out airstrikes throughout the besieged territory and has told civilians to seek shelter, including in areas in the south. Many Palestinians have defied evacuation orders, saying nowhere is safe.

Since the war began, a total of 25,105 Palestinians have been killed and 62,681 wounded in Gaza, the health ministry said on Sunday. The death toll includes 178 bodies brought to Gaza's hospitals since Saturday, Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qitra said. He said 300 more people were injured in the last day.

The total is expected to be much higher, as many casualties from Israeli strikes are buried under rubble or in areas where medics cannot reach them, al-Khitra said.

The health ministry does not distinguish between civilians and fighters in its statistics, but says civilians account for two-thirds of those killed in Gaza. Women and minors.

The ministry is part of the government run by Hamas, but its casualty figures from previous wars were largely in agreement UN agencies and even the Israeli military.

The Israeli military says it has killed 9,000 fighters, without providing evidence, and blames the high civilian death toll on Hamas because it deploys fighters, mines and other militant structures in dense neighborhoods, often near homes, schools or mosques.

The military says 195 soldiers have been killed since the Gaza offensive began.

The war has displaced about 85% of Gaza's residents from their homes, with hundreds of thousands of people crammed into UN-run shelters and tent camps in the southern part of the tiny coastal enclave. UN officials say a quarter of the population of 2.3 million are starving, with only humanitarian aid reaching them due to fighting and Israeli restrictions.

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The Israelis were increasingly divided

Netanyahu has He vowed to continue the offensive Until Israel achieves “total victory” over Hamas and returns All remaining hostages. But even some high-ranking Israeli officials are beginning to acknowledge that those goals may be mutually exclusive.

Hamas is believed to be holding captives in tunnels deep underground and using them as shields for its top leaders. Israel has only managed to rescue one hostage since the war began, Hamas says Many have been killed During Israeli airstrikes or failed rescue operations.

Former army chief Gadi Eisenkot, a member of Israel's war cabinet, said last week that a ceasefire was the only way to free the remaining hostages. In an implicit criticism of NetanyahuHe said the claims to the contrary were “delusions”.

Hamas has said it will not release any more hostages until Israel stops its attacks. The group is expected to make any releases conditional on the release of thousands of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, including high-level militants involved in attacks that have killed Israelis.

The Israeli government has so far ruled it out, but the hostages' families are pushing for another exchange and face pressure from Israelis frustrated by security failures before the October 7 attacks and Netanyahu's handling of the war.

Thousands of people gathered in Tel Aviv over the weekend to call for new elections.

Netanyahu's far-right coalition partners are meanwhile pushing him to step up the offensive, with some calling for the “voluntary” evacuation of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from Gaza and the re-establishment of Jewish settlements there. Israel withdrew soldiers and settlers from the area in 2005, two years before Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces.

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Magdy reported from Cairo.

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Follow AP's coverage of the Israel-Hamas war: https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

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