6 months into the Israel-Hamas war, the tragic human toll by the numbers

Written by on April 7, 2024

ABC News

Sunday marks six months since Hamas launched a surprise terrorist attack in southern Israel and Israel responded by declaring war against Hamas.

Israel launched a ground offensive in late October, tightening its restrictions on the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza and ordered civilians in the north to evacuate to the south.

Over the past 182 days, as Israel pursued its goal of destroying Hamas, a serious humanitarian crisis has unfolded in Gaza, with shortages of food, clean water and medicine, as well as a collapse of the health care system.

Here is a look at the tragic human toll of the Israel-Hamas war, by the numbers.

Killed and injured

Since Hamas’ surprise terrorist attack on Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, the death toll on both sides of the conflict has been steadily rising.

In Israel, at least 1,700 people have been killed and 8,700 others injured, according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The death toll includes more than 800 civilians, about 600 IDF soldiers and 61 police.

More than 33,000 people have been killed in Gaza and about 76,000 others injured, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health. The majority of those killed have been women and children, according to Hamas.

What we know about the hostages

When Hamas terrorists raided Israel on Oct. 7, more than 240 hostages were kidnapped and taken into the Gaza Strip.

So far, 112 surviving hostages have been released. The largest hostage release came on Nov. 24 during a pause in fighting in which 105 people were released, including 81 Israelis or dual Israeli citizens, 23 Thai citizens and one citizen of the Philippines. The bodies of 12 deceased hostages have also been recovered.

Currently, there are an estimated 131 hostages remaining in Gaza, which includes 33 bodies of those no longer alive, according to Israeli officials. There are at least eight dual U.S. citizens being held hostage still and three dual citizens among the bodies, officials said.

Collapse of the health care system

Prior to the conflict, 36 hospitals were functioning in Gaza.

As of April 2, 26 hospitals have stopped functioning and the remaining 10 are partially functioning, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) office in the occupied Palestinian territory. The organization said there are currently no fully functioning hospitals.

“Left without vital health care, ultimately it’s civilians who will pay the price,” the WHO office wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “We repeat: health must not be militarized or attacked.”

Israel has claimed that Hamas uses hospitals to “conduct and promote” terrorist activity. Hamas has denied claims it is operating from within hospitals.

Struggle to get aid into Gaza

Since early March, an average of 140 trucks with food aid have entered Gaza every day, Israel’s Civil Department of the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said in a post on X on April 1. Northern Gaza gets an average of 10 food trucks entering per day.

In an attempt to meet the needs of Gazans, several countries, including the U.S., have airdropped food into the strip, with more than 166,000 meals since March 5.

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) previously said Israel doesn’t provide enough authorization to deliver sufficient aid and, even when it does give authorization, the fighting makes it difficult to deliver that aid. The group says it has not been allowed to distribute aid in northern Gaza since Israel made allegations that some of its members participated in the Oct. 7 terrorist attack in Israel.

UNRWA says it terminated the accused employees after the allegations were made public and an independent investigation by the U.N.’s Office of Internal Oversight is ongoing.

Israeli officials have said Hamas steals aid once it enters Gaza and claim looting is also a problem. Israel continues to deny all accusations that it isn’t letting enough aid into Gaza, and encourages other countries to send in aid, with Israeli officials saying the U.N., its partners and other aid agencies have created logistical challenges, resulting in a bottleneck. The U.N. disputes these claims.

A March report from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) initiative said famine is “imminent” in northern Gaza and may occur between mid-March and the end of May.

On the night of April 1, seven aid workers with the World Central Kitchen were killed during an Israeli attack in central Gaza while traveling in a three-vehicle caravan, sparking outrage from the international community, including the U.S., and prompting increased pressure on Israel to protect aid workers and facilitate the flow of humanitarian aid.

On April 4, Israel approved the reopening of the Erez crossing into Gaza in the north and the temporary use of Ashdod port in southern Israel after the U.S. urged the country to increase the humanitarian aid getting into Gaza.

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