The Palestinian health ministry reported on Tuesday that Israeli air strikes killed more than 700 Palestinians in Hamas-run Gaza overnight, citing the biggest 24-hour death toll in Israel’s two-week siege of the tiny territory.
On Tuesday, UN agencies implored “on our knees” for unhindered access to Gaza for humanitarian supplies, claiming that existing deliveries were insufficient to feed the Palestinian people after two weeks of bombing.
The Palestinian health ministry stated in a social media post that Israeli bombardments have killed at least 5,791 Palestinians since Oct. 7, including 2,360 children. According to the report, 704 people were slain in the preceding 24 hours alone.
Reuters could not independently verify the ministry figures.
The Israeli military said that it killed dozens of Hamas fighters overnight while hitting over 400 Hamas targets, but that it would take time to destroy the Islamist militant group whose deadly cross-border attack on Oct. 7 shocked Israel.
With international aid agencies warning of a humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in the tiny, impoverished territory, one of the world’s most densely populated places, French President Emmanuel Macron flew to Israel.
Macron told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that France stood “shoulder to shoulder” with Israel in its war with Hamas but that it must not fight “without rules”. Netanyahu said Israel would try to protect civilians as it worked to ensure they “will no longer live under Hamas tyranny”.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pleaded on Tuesday for civilians to be protected, voicing concern about “clear violations of international humanitarian law” in Gaza.
The World Health Organization, in the latest of increasingly desperate U.N. appeals, called for “an immediate humanitarian ceasefire” to allow safe deliveries of food, medicines and fuel.
But there appeared to be little prospect of a ceasefire any time soon in the bloodiest chapter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades, with civilian suffering spreading.
Doctors in Gaza say patients arriving at hospitals are showing signs of disease caused by overcrowding and poor sanitation after more than 1.4 million people fled their homes for temporary shelters under Israel’s heaviest-ever bombardment.