The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza has published the names of 7,028 individuals who lost their lives in Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip. This release comes in response to comments made by U.S. President Joe Biden, who questioned the accuracy of the death toll from the conflict that began on October 7th.
President Biden expressed doubt regarding the accuracy of the Palestinian figures, stating that he has “no confidence that the Palestinians are providing accurate information” about the number of casualties caused by Israeli actions. He acknowledged that innocent civilians may have been killed in the course of the conflict, which he attributed to the cost of waging war.
In reaction to these comments, the Palestinian health ministry issued a comprehensive 210-page report containing the names, ages, genders, and identification numbers of each person who lost their life in the Gaza Strip. The ministry also indicated that an English version of the report would be made available soon.
Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qudra criticised the U.S. administration for questioning the validity of the death toll, stating that it lacked human standards, morals, and basic human rights values. He emphasised the importance of revealing the truth about what he termed a “genocidal war” by the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people.
According to the report, from October 7th to 3:00 PM local time on October 26th, 7,028 Palestinians were killed, including 2,913 children. The report also detailed that 3,129 were females, and 3,899 were males. An additional 218 people remain unidentified, although they are not included in the official death toll. The report excluded individuals buried without hospital involvement, those for whom hospitals were unable to complete registration procedures, and those missing under the rubble, with an estimated 1,600 individuals feared dead. As a result, the ministry believes the actual death toll may be higher than the reported figure.
Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qudra emphasised that the ministry’s doors are open for all institutions to access the data and called attention to the fact that behind each number lies the story of a person with a known name and identity, asserting that their people should not be disregarded.
Despite President Biden’s reservations about the death toll’s accuracy, it was revealed that the U.S. State Department had cited the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza in nearly 20 “situation reports.” Human Rights Watch also indicated that the ministry’s figures are generally considered reliable and have been widely used.
The ongoing conflict in Gaza began on October 7th after Hamas led a Palestinian attack into southern Israel. Israeli officials reported that approximately 1,400 people were killed in Israel during the assault, with the majority believed to be civilians. Furthermore, around 220 individuals have been taken as prisoners in Gaza, including both soldiers and civilians. Hamas has released four prisoners so far and claimed that 50 others were killed in Israeli air strikes.
Israel responded to the Hamas-led assault with a sustained bombing campaign on Gaza and imposed a complete siege on the territory. This campaign targeted various civilian infrastructure, including residential buildings, hospitals, ambulances, schools, universities, media offices, mosques, a church, and banks.