In grim milestone, 1% of Gaza Strip population killed since Israel-Hamas war began

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(LONDON) — The death toll in Gaza has reached a grim milestone, with one of every 100 Palestinians there killed since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war, which started following Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7, 2023.

With 23,357 killed in Israel’s military operation in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health, the Gaza Strip population has now lost 1% of its 2.3 million residents. More than 10,000 of those killed were children, and about 7,000 are reported to be still under the rubble, the health ministry said.

Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel on Oct. 7 killed 1,200 Israelis, according to Israel’s Prime Minister’s office.

Some Palestinians told ABC News they have stopped counting the people they have lost and are left with no sense of life with all the loss and trauma. Some said they are left “without soul, without life, without words.”

The Israel-Hamas war has taken a huge toll on civilians in Gaza in other aspects.

According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), up to 1.9 million people — over 85% of the population — have been displaced across the Gaza Strip, some multiple times. Out of this number, nearly 1.4 million internally displaced people are sheltering in 155 UNRWA facilities, which don’t have the bare minimum requirements for housing this number of people, the organization said.

The Israel Defense Ministry has said in multiple statements that it is targeting Hamas and has tried to minimize civilian casualties.

“Israel is not fighting the Palestinian people,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said during a briefing with ABC News last month. “We are fighting the Hamas terrorist organization.”

Normal life — going to work, school and back and not being worried about their lives — is now just a memory or a dream, said some Palestinians who spoke with ABC News.

“We are very tired. I am telling you, we are tired,” Muhammad Harara, a Palestinian man who has been displaced a few times and is now in Rafah, told ABC News Tuesday. “We left our homes, our money, our status, our stuff, to run after help,” he added.

When asked if he has a word to the world leaders and the US officials, Harara asked them to consider Gaza children as their own. “Treat us like we are people, we are not asking for more than the chance to live,” he said.

The situation across the strip is described by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society as grim and catastrophic.

“We have reached the point where we see corpses being eaten and mauled by dogs in Gaza and North Gaza,” Hossam Abu Al-Atta, supply officer at the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, told ABC News Wednesday. “Martyrs thrown on the ground, children without medicine, milk, or food,” he added.

According to the World Food Program, nearly all internally displaced Palestinian households, 93% of them, are reported inadequate food consumption.

“Access to water remains severely constrained, with less than 2 liters per person per day,” the World Food Program said.

Two and a half to three liters per day is the minimum essential amount needed for survival as the Sphere Standards suggest. The report warns that more people are now left with no choice but to resort to consuming wild or raw inedible food to cope with hunger.

A former student of the Islamic University of Gaza, who asked not to be named, has evacuated several times and is now in Rafah. She told ABC News on Wednesday that all of her time is now spent on the streets to find food, fuel, and other basic supplies to survive.

“No one laughs, no one smiles. It’s all darkness and pain,” she said.

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