Gaza death toll tops 10,000; UN calls it a children’s graveyard

Gaza death toll tops 10,000; UN calls it a children’s graveyard
NORTH SINAI, EGYPT - OCTOBER 20: Antonio Guterres Secretary-General of the United Nations speaks during a press conference in front of the Rafah border crossing on October 20, 2023 in North Sinai, Egypt. The aid convoy, organized by a group of Egyptian NGOs, set off Saturday 14th October from Cairo for the Gaza-Egypt border crossing at Rafah. On October 7th, the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack on border communities in southern Israel, spurring the most violent flare-up of the Israel-Palestine conflict in decades. Israel launched a vast bombing campaign in retaliation and has warned of an imminent ground invasion. (Photo by Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images)

GAZA, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Gaza is becoming a "graveyard for children", U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Monday, amplifying demands for a ceasefire in the enclave, where Palestinian health authorities said the death toll from Israeli strikes had exceeded 10,000.

  • Biden and Netanyahu discuss pauses, aid, hostages -White House
  • UN says 89 aid workers killed, highest ever toll
  • Images of hostages projected on Jerusalem’s Old City wall

By Nidal al-Mughrabi

Both Israel and the Hamas militants who control Gaza have rebuffed mounting international pressure for a ceasefire. Israel says hostages taken by Hamas during its rampage in southern Israel on Oct. 7 should be released first; Hamas says it will not free them or stop fighting while Gaza is under assault.

“Ground operations by the Israel Defense Forces and continued bombardment are hitting civilians, hospitals, refugee camps, mosques, churches and U.N. facilities – including shelters. No one is safe,” Guterres told reporters.

“At the same time, Hamas and other militants use civilians as human shields and continue to launch rockets indiscriminately towards Israel,” he said, calling for an immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.

Israel said 31 soldiers had been killed since it began expanded ground operations in Gaza on Oct. 27 and reiterated that Hamas was hiding with civilians and at hospitals. Hamas said the idea that Hamas was based in hospitals was a “false narrative that the U.N. should verify.

A Reuters journalist in Gaza said Israel’s overnight bombardment by air, ground and sea was one of its most intense since the Oct. 7 attack in which Hamas killed 1,400 people in Israel and seized more than 240 hostages.

The health ministry in the Hamas-controlled enclave said at least 10,022 people in Gaza have since been killed, including 4,104 children.

“Gaza is becoming a graveyard for children. Hundreds of girls and boys are reportedly being killed or injured every day,” Guterres said.

International organisations have said hospitals cannot cope with the wounded and food and clean water are running out with aid deliveries nowhere near enough.

Guterres said 89 people working with the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) were among the dead. UNRWA said five colleagues had been killed in the past 24 hours alone.

“We need an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. It’s been 30 days. Enough is enough. This must stop now,” an earlier statement by 18 U.N. organisations said.

The United States is pushing hard to arrange pauses in the conflict to allow in aid rather than a full ceasefire, arguing, like Israel, that Hamas militants would just take advantage.

U.S. President Joe Biden discussed such pauses and possible hostage releases in a phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, reiterating his support for Israel while emphasising that it must protect civilians, the White House said.

The faces of hostages were projected onto the wall of Jerusalem’s Old City on the eve of the one month anniversary of the attack.



The Israeli military said its forces had taken a militant compound and were poised to attack Hamas fighters hiding in underground tunnels and bunkers in the northern Gaza Strip, having isolated the area with troops and tanks. It released video of tanks moving through bombed-out streets and groups of troops moving on foot.

“Now we are going to start closing in on them,” Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Hecht told reporters.

The armed wing of Hamas, the Al-Qassam brigades, said it had damaged 27 Israeli military vehicles in 48 hours and inflicted significant losses in direct engagements with Israeli troops.

The health ministry in Gaza said dozens of people were killed by Israeli air strikes in the north and south, including on Gaza City’s Rantissi cancer hospital, where eight people were killed. Israel’s military said it was looking into the report.

Gaza’s health ministry spokesman said an air strike had also hit a building belonging to Gaza’s largest hospital, Al Shifa, where 170 people were being treated and hundreds of evacuees were sheltering. One person was killed and several were wounded, he said. Israel said it had not struck the hospital.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it had escorted a four-ambulance convoy of patients from Gaza City to the Rafah border crossing with Egypt. Evacuations had been suspended since an Israeli strike on an ambulance on Friday but three Egyptian security sources said dozens of foreign passport holders also left on Monday.



U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has toured the region to try to prevent the conflict escalating and plan a secure future for Israelis and Palestinians as well as get in more aid.

“I think we’ll see in the days ahead that assistance can expand in significant ways,” Blinken said in Turkey.

He visited the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Sunday to show support for Palestinians there and in Gaza and held talks in Israel as well as in neighbouring Jordan with Arab leaders.

U.S. CIA Director William Burns also visited Israel and was due to go on to other states in the region, the New York Times reported. The CIA did not respond to a request for comment.

Israel said it was striking Hezbollah targets in Lebanon in response to a barrage of rockets fired at northern Israeli cities, an intensification of the worst clashes across the Israel-Lebanon border since 2006.

Hamas said it had launched 16 missiles towards Nahariyya and Southern Haifa in Israel.

Meanwhile, people searched for victims or survivors at the Maghazi refugee camp in Gaza, where the health ministry said Israeli forces had killed at least 47 people in strikes early on Sunday.

“All night I and the other men were trying to pick the dead from the rubble. We got children, dismembered, torn-apart flesh,” said Saeed al-Nejma, 53. Asked for comment, the Israeli military said it was gathering details.

The Israeli military said a four-hour window for civilians to leave the north would be repeated daily. U.N. monitoring showed fewer than 2,000 people used the corridor on Sunday, citing fear and road damage. A U.S. envoy said on Saturday between 350,000 and 400,000 people were still in the north.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Louise Louise says:

    The UN proving once again how they cannot prevent genocide or wars. They never have. Please correct me if I’m wrong, thank you.

  • Izzy Trees says:

    If we do not work together for an immediate, comprehensive ceasefire this will spill out into a much larger regional war. The cutting off of food, water, electricity, fuel and medical supplies for an entire civilian population is indefensible and inhumane!

  • Vhutali Silobo says:

    I think i need an immediate humanitarian ceasefire..

  • Vas K says:

    Please do not misunderstand my comments. I think the war started by Hamas is absolutely horrific but I cannot offer a realistic solution. Just in case there are still some people who did not notice, Israel is the victim here fighting an existential war. It is a war against a civilized country by a bunch of inhuman creatures recognized as terrorists by every civilized country, naturally South Africa excluded. Hamas has one stated goal – elimination of Israel and Jews in the Middle East. Their strategy is terrorizing and murdering exclusively civilians in the most horrific fashion and using Palestinians as their cannon fodder. Unfortunately most of the Palestinians openly support the terrorists – remember the celebration and dancing in the streets exactly one month ago. The manufacture of rocket components seems to be the favourite home industry in Gaza. The inhabitants of Gaza cheerfully allowed the terrorists to take control in the past and let thym hide in civilian areas now. Sadly the Palestinians who are not terrorists nor their supporters bear no distinguishing characteristics. All I keep hearing are calls for a ceasefire. I am yet waiting to hear how that will prevent the destruction of Israel. And how the re-grouping and re-supply of duplicitous terrorists with no regard for human lives and anything civilized will help the war against terrorism. I have no solution to offer, but aiding the terrorists and their supporters is probably the worst one.

    • Izzy Trees says:

      It is important to listen to the other side. Palestinians have said time and time again that it is Israel violating the peace by taking more and more of their land, killing their people (since 1948) and imprisoning their men, women and children without cause, and without trial. They say that the people of Israel do not recognize THEIR right to exist and do not even see them as human. Your comment (“a bunch of inhuman creatures”) demonstrates that, as does the comment by Israel’s defense minister (“we are fighting human animals”). This type of dehumanisation is unacceptable. The people of Palestine deserve equal rights and freedoms. They deserve sovereignty. And only by addressing the root causes of the conflict, can organisations like Hamas be eradicated.

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