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Death toll from conflict escalation in Gaza Strip exceeds 15,500 – health ministry

More than 41,000 have been wounded

CAIRO, December 3. /TASS/. The death toll from the escalation of the conflict in the Gaza Strip has exceeded 15,500, more than 41,000 have been wounded, Gaza’s health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.

"The number of the victims of the Israeli aggression has reached 15,523. At least 41,316 people have been wounded," he said in a statemen posted on the ministry’s Facebook account (Facebook is banned in Russia due to its ownership by Meta, which has been designated as extremist).

According to the ministry, as many as 291 medics have been killed, 59 ambulances have been destroyed and 56 medical facilities have been ruined since the beginning of the latest escalation on October 7.

The ministry’s spokesman also noted that the "mechanism of evacuating the wounded for treatment abroad is operating very slowly." "We are losing dozens of lives every day due to the lack of necessary treatment in the Gaza Strip and because they are not evacuated," al-Qudra said, adding that 403 patients have been evacuated from the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing. Some of those wounded have died while waiting for the evacuation, he added.

Tensions flared up again in the Middle East on October 7 after militants from the Gaza Strip-based radical Palestinian group Hamas launched a surprise incursion on Israeli territory, killing many Israeli kibbutz residents living near the Gaza border and abducting more than 200 Israelis, including women, children and the elderly. Hamas described its attack as a response to Israeli authorities’ aggressive actions against the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. Israel declared a total blockade of the Gaza Strip and launched bombardments of the enclave and some areas in Lebanon and Syria, as well as a ground operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Clashes are also reported in the West Bank.

On November 22, Hamas announced an agreement with Israel, which was brokered by Egypt and Qatar, on a four-day humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip, which took effect on November 24. However, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on the morning of December 1 that Hamas had violated the truce in Gaza and opened fire on Israeli territory, thus prompting the IDF to resume combat operations in the Gaza Strip.