Gaza Health Ministry says 22,438 dead; IDF claims killing of Jihad leader

Gaza Health Ministry says 22,438 dead; IDF claims killing of Jihad leader

1 of 3 | People inspect the rubble of a building in southern Gaza on Wednesday as Israeli forces intensified their military campaign to dismantle and destroy Hamas in the Palestinian enclave on Thursday with attacks in Khan Younis. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 4 (UPI) — Palestinian officials said on Thursday that 125 people died and 318 injured during Israel’s latest assaults over the past 24 hours while Israel’s military announced the death of an opposition leader.

Gaza’s Ministry of Health said on Facebook that the latest deaths bring the death toll of Palestinians to 22,438 with 57,614 wounded since the start of the conflict on Oct. 7. The ministry claimed that 70% of the deaths are of women and children. The totals don’t identify which may have been part of Hamas fighters.

Gaza officials said that the Israeli military has killed 326 health professionals and has destroyed 121 ambulances, limiting their ability to care for the injured.

They claimed that Israel intends to target more than 200 health facilities in Gaza, including 30 hospitals and 53 health centers that are out of service.

The Israel Defense Forces said on Thursday it killed Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Mamdoh Lulu in an airstrike.

“[Lulu] served as an assistant to the heads of the northern region of the Gaza Strip in the Palestinian Islamic organization, and was in contact with senior officials of the organization’s headquarters abroad,” the Israel Defense Forces said on X, formerly Twitter.

“Lulu was killed in an attack by an IDF aircraft, led by the Fire and Intelligence Center in the Southern Command and directed by the Shin Bet and the Intelligence Division.”

The IDF said earlier that they killed five fighters from Hamas and destroyed an arsenal belonging to the group amid a stepped-up military campaign in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis.

Troops of the 4th Brigade Combat Team called in an Air Force airstrike that killed three fighters attempting to plant a bomb among Israeli positions and killed two more holed up in a building nearby, Israel Defense Forces said in a post on X.

“A fighter jet attacked a weapons warehouse of the terrorist organization Hamas in the same area of ​​the city.”

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society also said Thursday the IDF had struck its facilities in the city for the second time in two days, killing at least one person and injuring several others.

“IDF targeting the PRCS headquarters in Khan Younis which has led to the killing of one person and 6 injuries,” the relief organization said in an update on X.

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a situation report that the Al Amal hospital and PRCS in Khan Younis were bombed multiple times throughout Wednesday, but said it could not confirm casualty numbers.

Hundreds of displaced families that had been sheltering in the building and PRCS headquarters had attempted to evacuate following the first bombing on Tuesday in which five deaths were reported, including a five-day-old baby.

A training center run by PRCS within the hospital complex was severely damaged in that attack.

On a visit to Al-Amal, OCHA and the World Health Organization witnessed first-hand the displacement of civilians and the extensive damage to the hospital where an estimated 14,000 people were sheltering at the hospital at the time of the attack

The ReliefWeb roundup also said the U.N. and other humanitarian agencies had been prevented from delivering urgently needed life-saving humanitarian assistance north of Wadi Gaza for the past three days by Israeli forces either blocking or delaying access.

The convoys were bringing medicines that would have provided vital support to more than 100,000 people for 30 days, as well as eight trucks of food for people facing “catastrophic and life-threatening food insecurity.”

“Humanitarian organizations are calling for urgent, safe, sustained and unhindered humanitarian access to areas north of Wadi Gaza, which has been severed from the south for more than a month.”

However, OCHA acknowledged ongoing fierce fighting was also a factor.

Meanwhile, at the other end of Israel overnight and into Thursday, Israeli forces hit Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon despite the group’s leader, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, warning Israel would pay a very high price for a war on its northern neighbor.

An Air Force fighter jet struck a Hezbollah observation post and military infrastructure in the Maron al-Ras district followed shortly afterward by an attack on an anti-tank squad in the same area,” the IDF said in a social media post.

During the night, IDF forces fired mortars to “remove a threat” on the Israel-Lebanon border in the Rav A Taltin area, according to the update.

In a live video broadcast from a rally commemorating the late Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani on the anniversary of his assassination in a 2020 U.S. drone strike, Nasrallah threatened Hezbollah would fight Israel with no “limits, ceiling, rules or restraints.”

“Who thinks of [engaging] in a war with us, he will regret it if God wills,” Nasrallah said adding that such a wider war would be “very, very, very costly.”  » …
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