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Gaza’s Ministry of Health released a list of those killed in Israeli attacks

The Palestinian Health Ministry has released a list of 6,747 people it says were killed in Gaza during Israel’s 20-day war against Hamas.

The commentary accompanying this data reads “we are open to all institutions to examine the health care system…so that the world knows that behind every number is a human story with a known name and personality, and our people are not faceless beings to be ignored.”

Palestine has been updating daily the death toll from Israeli bombings. On Thursday, as the US and Israel raised questions about the reliability of the data, the ministry released a document showing the death toll at 7,028, all but 281 of whom were identified by name, age, sex and identification number. By gender, there were 3,899 women and 2,813 men. According to the ministry, there are also 2,665 dead children.

US President Joe Biden, during a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, rejected the ministry’s figures on the death toll.

Biden has publicly stated that he is asking Israel to minimize civilian casualties in the Gaza war, and when asked on Wednesday whether the health ministry’s figures show that Israel has heeded his request, Biden said:

“I have no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using.”

At a press conference in Washington on Thursday, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby explained that Hamas ran the department and everything it reported should not be believed. He said the president’s administration “does not dispute that” thousands of Palestinians have been killed, but “what we’re saying is that you shouldn’t rely on the numbers provided by Hamas and the health ministry.”

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a spokesman for Israel’s Defense Ministry, wrote in a post on the website X on Thursday that he further doubted the reliability of the ministry’s figures, He said it had previously significantly overestimated the number of Palestinian deaths.

But Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch’s Israel and Palestine director, told The New York Times that his international human rights group believes the ministry’s death toll is consistent with other figures it has come across. Shakir added that the focus on the accuracy of the ministry’s figures distracts attention from the brutal war. He claimed:

“Our focus should be on how to prevent further mass atrocities, instead of debating whether or not the number is exactly accurate or not. We know that Palestinians are being killed in unprecedentedly high numbers, and that needs to end.”

On Thursday, the Palestinian Health Ministry condemned the Biden administration for believing Israel unconditionally and “speaking the language of a criminal occupier, shamelessly questioning the accuracy of the figures announced by the Health Ministry.”

On October 7, Hamas announced the launch of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood against Israel. The group’s militants then infiltrated into Israel and began firing rockets from the Gaza Strip.

In response, the Israel Defense Forces launched Operation Iron Sword against Hamas. Within a few days, the Israeli army took control of all settlements near the border with the Gaza Strip and began launching airstrikes against targets, including civilians in the Strip. The Israeli authorities also announced a complete siege of the Gaza Strip: water, food, electricity, medicine and fuel supplies were cut off.

The current conflict between Israel and Palestine, linked to the regional interests of the parties, has been a source of tension and strife in the region for decades. In 1947, a UN resolution envisioning an active role of the USSR defined the creation of two states (Israel and Palestine), but only the state of Israel was created.

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