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Palestinian death toll in Gaza rises to 32,142: ministry

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-03-24 00:55

Palestinians walk past the ruins of houses destroyed during Israel's military offensive, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Gaza city on March 20. [Photo/Agencies]

GAZA -- The Palestinian death toll from ongoing Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip has risen to 32,142, with 74,412 others wounded, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said on Saturday.

In a press statement sent to Xinhua, the ministry said the Israeli army killed 72 Palestinians and wounded 114 others during the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the Hamas-run government media office said the Israeli army threatened to bomb and destroy the buildings of Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

The office said in a press statement that "we received testimonies from inside the Al-Shifa complex indicating that the Israeli army threatened the medical staff and the displaced inside the buildings that it would bomb and destroy them over their heads, or that they would go out for torture, investigation, and execution."

In addition, the Israeli army said in a press statement that its forces and the Shin Bet security service continue to fight in the Al-Shifa Hospital area, confirming that 170 people were killed in the area and more than 800 others were arrested.

In a statement, Hamas accused Israel of committing "horrific massacres" in the Al-Shifa complex, saying that "bombing defenseless civilians with drones is a war crime."

The recent operation began early Monday, with the Israeli forces attacking the compound with tanks and airstrikes.

Al-Shifa, which was Gaza's largest medical facility before the war, is now one of the few hospitals still functioning in the coastal enclave and also serving as a shelter for displaced Palestinians.

Israel has targeted the hospital before, claiming that Hamas used it as a command center and hid weapons and fighters in underground tunnels underneath the complex.

Israel has been launching a large-scale offensive against Hamas in Gaza to retaliate against a Hamas rampage through the southern Israeli border on Oct. 7, 2023, during which about 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 were taken hostage.

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