Title: Gaza Death Toll Surpasses 20,000 in Israel’s 10-Week-Old War
In what is being described as the deadliest conflict in the region in over 40 years, the death toll of Gaza Strip residents in Israel’s 10-week-old war has now exceeded 20,000. This figure, shocking and likely an undercount, surpasses the toll for any other Arab conflict with Israel in recent history. Experts have compared the speed at which people have been killed in this war to the deadliest stages of the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan or Iraq.
The International Crisis Group think tank’s Gaza analyst has described this war as “more horrifying” than any previous conflicts. The Israeli military has launched an intense air and ground campaign to eliminate Hamas, resulting in heavy civilian casualties due to the small, densely populated territory. This has led to the death toll in the current conflict surpassing the estimated toll for the initial three months of Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon.
While the exact tolls for previous Arab-Israeli conflicts such as the 1967 and 1973 wars are unknown, it was believed that most of the dead were combatants. However, in this ongoing conflict, Gaza officials state that about 70% of those killed are women and children, highlighting the heavy civilian toll.
The difficulties of operating in the territory and ongoing disruptions in communications have made it challenging for independent organizations to verify the Gaza death toll. The lack of accurate information is also compounded by fuel shortages, exacerbating the crisis.
The Gaza Health Ministry, responsible for compiling death toll information, has generally been regarded as reliable by the U.N., humanitarian groups, and a study in The Lancet. However, it faced criticism after an explosion at al-Ahli Hospital when the casualty figures were initially exaggerated.
The war has left much of Gaza devastated, resulting in a dire humanitarian crisis with limited access to basic necessities such as electricity, food, and clean water. The U.N. warns that half the population is at risk of starvation, with 90% regularly going without food for an entire day. Overcrowded shelters and disease have also become prevalent issues.
Individual families have suffered immense loss, with one critic of Hamas revealing that Israeli airstrikes have killed over 30 members of his family, including young children with no affiliation to Hamas.
As the conflict continues, the urgent need for aid and assistance in Gaza is reaching critical levels. It is imperative that the international community takes swift action to alleviate the suffering of the innocent civilians caught in the crossfire of this devastating war.