Death toll in Gaza Strip from Israeli strikes rises to 15,523

The Israeli military issued evacuation orders to new areas covering approximately 25 per cent of the Gaza Strip following the collapse of truce talks, according to the OCHA.

Gaza: The death toll of Palestinians from Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since October 7 has reached 15,523, the Hamas-run health ministry has said.

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Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra said during a press conference on Sunday that the number of injured people in the Palestinian enclave had surpassed 41,000, amid a collapse of healthcare services, Xinhua news agency reported.

Al-Qidra said that hundreds of wounded people were being treated on the ground with extremely limited medical resources, as hospitals in northern Gaza “have become increasingly incapable of providing necessary healthcare”.

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He added that all hospitals in the Gaza Strip were overwhelmed beyond their medical and bed capacities, lacking the necessary surgical resources to handle critical cases.

Al-Qidra slammed the slow mechanism for allowing the wounded to seek treatment abroad, saying that only 403 people had been allowed to leave the Gaza Strip since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

He reiterated the demand for safe humanitarian corridors to ensure the flow of medical supplies, medications, and fuel, and called for efforts to allow the wounded and patients to travel abroad to receive treatment.

Hamas commander killed in Gaza airstrike: Israeli military

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced that a Hamas commander, who was responsible for carrying out raids into Israeli territory in the October 7 attack, has been killed in an airstrike in Gaza.

In a post on X late Sunday night, IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said that “guided by the intelligence of the Shin Bet and the IDF, eliminated Haitham Khojari, the commander of the Shati Battalion of the terrorist organisation Hamas, using an Air Force fighter jet, under his command, they launched a raid into Israeli territory on October 7”.

According to Hagari, Khawajiri commanded the security of the activities of the at the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza and also commanded the fighting against the IDF forces at Camp Shatti.

“During his position, Khawajri was responsible for a lot of terrorist activity against the residents of the State of Israel,” the IDF spokesperson added.

The IDF took control of the Al-Shati refugee camp located in the northern Gaza Strip in November.

Earlier on Sunday, the IDF had announced that it eliminated 500 of the more than 800 exposed shafts to Hamas’ underground tunnels located near or inside kindergartens, schools, playgrounds and mosques.

“To be clear, these places aren’t childproof, but rather teeming with terrorism. Every tunnel shaft and weapon we find is further proof of how Hamas deliberately uses the residents of Gaza for their terrorist agenda against Israelis,” it said in a post on X.

Israel resumed its attacks on Gaza since the collapse of the seven-day humanitarian truce on December 1.

In the last 24 hours, the military said that an IDF UAV targeted and eliminated five Hamas terrorists.

It also said that Israel Air Force fighter jets and helicopters struck Hamas terrorist targets; tunnel shafts, command centres and weapons storage facilities.

Meanwhile, IDF naval troops struck infrastructure, vessels belonging to the militant group’s naval forces and weapons.

Israel issues evacuation orders covering 25% of Gaza territory: UN

The Israeli military issued evacuation orders to new areas covering approximately 25 per cent of the Gaza Strip following the collapse of truce talks, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The Israel military has divided the territory into numerous small zones in an attempt to ease evacuation orders before the potential bombardment, the OCHA was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

Among the designated evacuation zones are towns in southern Gaza, including Al-Qarara, Khuza’a, Abasan, and Bani Suhaila, said the OCHA, noting that residents in these areas have been instructed to move southwards toward Rafah near the Egyptian border.

According to the OCHA, these areas subject to evacuation orders account for 19 per cent of Gaza’s territory (69 square km) and were home to approximately 352,000 people before the onset of the Israeli-Hamas conflict.

Palestinians flee from theor neighbourhood in Gaza Strip during the ongoing Israeli bombardment. Photo: AP

Furthermore, the Israeli military has ordered evacuations in the eastern part of Gaza City, including Shejaiya, Zeitoun, and the Old City, as well as Jabalia in northern Gaza, which account for approximately 6 per cent of the Strip, and were previously inhabited by around 415,000 people, with many already evacuated, according to the OCHA.

Israeli army Spokesperson Avichay Adraee reiterated on Sunday the evacuation orders on his social media platform X, urging residents in Khan Yunis in the southern enclave to leave their residences and head to alternative locations.

The OCHA estimates that about 1.8 million people in Gaza, nearly 80 per cent of the population, have become internally displaced, among whom about 1.1 million are accommodated in 156 facilities across Gaza by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

The UN group also highlighted concerns about the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, pregnant, breastfeeding mothers, injuries and those with compromised immune systems.

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