25,000 civilian fatalities reported in Gaza conflict amid mounting humanitarian demands

United Nations, Jan 23 (IANS) “Intense” Israeli strikes in Gaza and Palestinian rocket fire into Israel persisted on Monday, with UN humanitarian reports stating more than 25,000 deaths in the enclave since the war’s onset on October 7.

Referencing information from Gaza’s health authorities, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that 62,681 Palestinians have suffered injuries due to Israeli strikes. These strikes were in response to Hamas-led attacks in Israel, which resulted in about 1,200 fatalities and around 250 hostages.

Two Israeli soldiers had been killed in Gaza since Friday, OCHA said, which brought the total to 193 since the start of the ground operation, and 1,203 soldiers were injured, according to the Israeli military as quoted by Xinhua news agency report.

The same period saw 343 Palestinians killed and another 573 people injured, the UN aid coordination office said.

Addressing a summit of the Group of 77 countries and China (G77) in the Ugandan capital Kampala on Sunday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the Middle East as “a tinderbox,” before issuing an appeal to “do all we can to prevent conflict from igniting across the region”.

“Israel’s military operations have spread mass destruction and killed civilians on a scale unprecedented during my time as Secretary-General,” Guterres said, having earlier reiterated his support for a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians.

Highlighting the scale of need among Gazans after more than three months of “intense” bombardment, OCHA said that only 15 bakeries were now operational in Gaza — “six in Rafah and nine in Deir al Balah” — and none is open north of Wadi Gaza.

Almost all of these functioning bakeries have continued to receive support from the UN World Food Programme which has provided flour, salt, yeast and sugar.

“Through this initiative, about 250,000 people were able to purchase bread at a subsidised price,” OCHA noted in its latest update on the emergency on Sunday.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA, meanwhile, reported on Monday that telecommunications shutdowns had entered a seventh day.

In its most recent update, UNRWA disclosed that the number of internally displaced people within Gaza has reached 1.7 million. Of these, at least 335 have been killed while taking refuge in the agency’s facilities, and 1,161 have been injured. Additionally, since October 7, 151 UNRWA staff members have been killed and 141 of its installations have suffered damage.



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