The Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson has officially revised the death toll from the October 7 Hamas attack to 1,200. Initially, Israel had reported at least 1,400 casualties in the surprise assault by Hamas militants controlling the Gaza Strip. The spokesperson criticized the new figure of 1,200 in a statement critical of Unesco, acknowledging that the toll might change as all the bodies are identified.
Simultaneously, thousands of Palestinians who sought refuge in Gaza City’s largest hospital fled south for safety due to reported strikes in and around the compound. Israeli claims of Hamas’ military infrastructure being based in Gaza City’s hospitals and neighborhoods have strained these traditionally considered safe zones. The Israeli army attributed one strike at Shifa Hospital to a misfire by militants targeting its nearby troops.
As a result of the conflict, 20 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals, including a pediatric hospital, are no longer functioning. WHO expressed extreme distress over airstrikes near Al-Shifa Hospital, with director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus emphasizing the urgent need for the protection of patients, health workers, and those sheltering in hospitals. He called on both sides to respect international humanitarian law. Residents seeking refuge in hospitals now face the difficult choice of staying in overcrowded and at-risk medical facilities or venturing into the perilous streets of Gaza City. This is further complicated by challenges in accessing essential supplies through humanitarian corridors.