In just under a month, Israeli strikes have killed more than 10,000 people in Gaza and injured more than 25,000 others, the Gaza Health Ministry said on Monday.
The soaring death toll from Israel’s bombardment includes more than 4,100 children, according to the ministry, which operates under the political arm of Hamas. The ministry’s figures could not be independently verified, but a Pentagon spokesman, Brig. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder, acknowledged on Monday that “we know the numbers are in the thousands.”
Last month, President Biden cast doubt on death toll numbers coming from the Health Ministry, without offering an explanation. However, its statistics were considered credible enough for the U.S. State Department to cite them in a report released this year that covered previous conflicts.
After Mr. Biden’s remarks, the Health Ministry released a list with the names, ages, genders and ID numbers of all those it counted in its death toll, except for 281 whose remains were unidentifiable. The list included multiple members of numerous families, including 88 from one extended family.
Even before the latest hostilities, more than two million people in Gaza, about half of them children, were trapped by a 16-year Israeli blockade of the territory. After Hamas launched terrorist attacks on Oct. 7 in which, Israeli officials say, more than 1,400 people were killed and more than 240 abducted, Israel began a military campaign it said was aimed at destroying the group.
The grim update on civilian deaths came as Gaza was emerging from a third communications blackout, which coincided with heavy Israeli attacks.
On Monday, the head of the United Nations again urged an immediate humanitarian cease-fire, painting a dire picture. “Gaza is becoming a graveyard for children,” Secretary General António Guterres told reporters.
“Hundreds of girls and boys are reportedly being killed or injured every day,” Mr. Guterres said. “More journalists have reportedly been killed over a four-week period than in any conflict in at least three decades. More United Nations aid workers have been killed than in every comparable period in the history of our organization.”
In the first days of its strikes, the Israeli Air Force said it had dropped more than 6,000 bombs on the Gaza Strip, which covers an area roughly half the size of New York City.
On Monday, Mr. Guterres said the bombardment had struck “civilians, hospitals, refugee camps, mosques, churches, and U.N. facilities, including shelters.”
Israeli officials have so far resisted calls from the United Nations, international aid groups and protesters in Israel and around the world for a humanitarian pause. But the need for a cease-fire is becoming more urgent by the hour, said the secretary general, pointing to what he said were “clear violations” of international law in the conflict.
“No one is safe,” he said.