Israel's overnight airstrikes leave 51 people dead: Gaza Health Ministry

Hamas-run health ministry has claimed Israel's overnight airstrikes have left 51 people dead and  281 hurt.

A building collapsed into the street in Gaza. Photo Courtesy: UNRWA/Mohammed Hinnawi

Israel says it is targeting Hamas in response to the latter’s onslaught over the weekend that left over 1,200 Israelis dead and is aiming to completely eliminate the terror group, reports The Times of Israel.

The overall death toll of Palestinians from the ongoing Israeli airstrikes has reached 1,100, the Health Ministry in Gaza said in a statement on Wednesday.

"About 5,339 Palestinians, including 1,217 children and 744 women, were wounded by the (Israeli) army," the statement added.

Over a tenth of the population in Gaza, more than 260,000 people, have been displaced since the start of the current conflict on 7 October and the numbers are rising fast.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has voiced grave concern over the escalating conflict in Israel and Gaza and stressed the need to prevent the violence from spreading into the wider region.

The UN chief raised alarm over clashes along the Blue Line, the demarcation between Israel and Lebanon, as well as reported attacks from southern Lebanon.

Also Read: Israel-Hamas conflict: India launches 'Operation Ajay' to repatriate Indians

“I appeal to all parties – and those who have an influence over those parties – to avoid any further escalation and spillover,” he told reporters at the UN Headquarters, in New York.

Release Israeli hostages in Gaza

Guterres reiterated the need to always protect civilians, as guaranteed by international law.

“I call for the immediate release of all Israeli hostages held in Gaza,” he said.

Eleven UNRWA staff killed

Amidst the volatile situation, the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) reported that eleven of its staff members have been killed since Saturday, while 30 students at its schools died and a further eight injured.

UNRWA is a lifeline for most of the roughly two million Palestine refugees in Gaza, providing essential services such as education and healthcare. The conflict has forced the closure of its 14 food distribution centres as well as a reduction in operations. 
In addition about 220,000 Palestinians have sought shelter in about 90 UNRWA facilities across the enclave.

UNRWA Director of Communications Juliette Touma told UN News, on Tuesday, that many staff are still working.

“We have people who are responding to the needs of the people in the shelters. They are giving them mattresses, a place to sleep, clean water, some food, in cooperation with the UN World Food Programme (WFP),” she said.

C to I News Desk
C to I News Desk – CtoI

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