Gaza death toll exceeds 23,000 as Israel says to shift to ‘long’ third phase of war

The Palestinian death toll from the ongoing Israeli war on the Gaza Strip exceeded 23,000, the Gaza-based Health Ministry announced on Monday.

The ministry said in a press statement that the Israeli army killed 249 Palestinians and wounded 510 others during the past 24 hours.

This brings the total number of deaths to 23,084 and injuries to 58,926 since the Israel-Hamas conflict broke out on Oct. 7, 2023, it added.

Real numbers are believed to be much higher as the authorities in Gaza have been unable to regularly update casualty numbers since last November amid a collapse of the enclave’s health system.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Monday Israel plans to shift to a “long” third phase of the war in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli soldiers will shift from the “intense maneuvering phase of the war” toward “different types of special operations”, Gallant told The Wall Street Journal, without providing details or dates for this phase.

The next phase in the war “will last for a longer time”, he added.

The spokesperson of Palestinian Civil Defence in Gaza has recently reported more than 8,000 Palestinians in Gaza are missing, presumed to be buried under downed buildings, and tens of thousands have been displaced.

A human rights monitor said Friday more than 90,000 people, about 4% of the population in Gaza, are dead, wounded or missing.

The Geneva-based Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor made the assessment and added Israel’s continuous air, land and sea attacks have destroyed about 70% of the Gaza Strip’s civilian infrastructure since Oct. 7.

The group accused Israel of making the Strip uninhabitable.

The United Nations has recently reiterated that Gaza is grappling with catastrophic hunger and nearly half of the population is at a risk of famine.

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