French warship off Egyptian coast provides critical healthcare to wounded Gazans Women and children are the main victims in the Israel-Hamas war, according to the United Nations.

Palestinian death toll soars past 25,000 in Gaza with no end in sight to Israel-Hamas war

Gaza urgently needs more aid or its desperate population will suffer widespread famine and disease, the United Nations has warned. 

RAFAH, Gaza Strip   (  Web  News  )   

Sitting in a wheelchair, Abdulrahman Iyad wrings his hands in his lap, resting them gently near pins protruding from his thighs.

He scrolls through his phone, looking at photos of his family, all killed in the blast that tore his own face apart.

“I was sent flying through the air and hit the wall of our neighbor’s house, my leg was trapped under the caved-in ceiling,” Iyad told AFP on the French helicopter carrier Dixmude, which is being used as a hospital to treat wounded Palestinian civilians.

“When I woke up in hospital, my uncles told me they had visited me, but I couldn’t remember a thing.”

Iyad’s home, like much of the Palestinian territory where Israel has waged war against Hamas militants since early October, has been reduced to rubble.

The fighting began on October 7, when Palestinian armed group Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip.

The attack resulted in the deaths of about 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Israel responded with a military offensive that has killed at least 25,105 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.

Search-and-rescue missions have become nearly impossible in the territory, meaning thousands have been left trapped and presumed dead under the rubble, medics say.

The healthcare system has almost entirely collapsed, with hospitals overwhelmed and doctors having to treat a growing number of casualties with dwindling resources.

‘Shocked’ by wounded civilians

The French warship began treating patients in November, off the coast of the port of El-Arish, 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of the Egyptian border with Gaza.

In the hull of the vessel, a handful of patients and their families gathered around a table, listlessly playing a card game.

Among them was Nesma Abu Gayad, a bright-eyed Palestinian who was seriously injured when her home was shelled.

“I was treated at a few hospitals in Gaza, before arriving in Egypt,” she told AFP, the stump of her right foot floating above the ground from her wheelchair.

“The next step will be a prosthetic, but I have to get a referral and travel to get it abroad.”

French doctor Marine, who is serving aboard the Dixmude and only gave her first name, said the warship has so far received 120 patients, all serious cases who needed long periods of hospitalisation.

That is just a tiny minority of the more than 62,000 people who have been injured in Gaza, according to the territory’s health ministry.

Another French doctor on the Dixmude, Salle, said she was shocked by the injuries that she had come across.

“I’m in the military, so I deal with the war wounds of our French and allied servicemen,” she said.

“But what shocked me was to find them on civilians.”

The Palestinian death toll in Gaza from over three months of war between Israel and the territory’s Hamas rulers has soared past 25,000, the Gaza Health Ministry said Sunday.

At least 178 bodies were brought to Gaza’s hospitals in 24 hours along with nearly 300 wounded people, according to Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra.

Women and children are the main victims in the Israel-Hamas war, according to the United Nations.

FILE - Palestinians rescue a child from under the rubble after Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023. Israel's war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip has the Mideast simmering, raising the temperature on tensions across the region and increasing the risk that seemingly localized conflicts could spin out of control. (AP Photo/Abed Khaled, File)

Israel responded with a three-week air campaign and then a ground invasion into northern Gaza that flattened entire neighborhoods. Ground operations are now focused on the southern city of Khan Younis and built-up refugee camps in central Gaza dating back to the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation.

Some 85% of Gaza’s population have fled their homes, with hundreds of thousands packing into U.N.-run shelters and tent camps in the southern part of the tiny coastal enclave. U.N. officials say a quarter of the population of 2.3 million is starving as only a trickle of humanitarian aid enters because of the fighting and Israeli restrictions.

Emergency services work at a building hit by an air strike in Damascus, Syria, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024. Syrian and Iranian state media outlets say an Israeli strike on t Damascus killed four Iranian advisers. (AP Photo/Omar Sanadiki)

Gaza’s Health Ministry says a total of 25,105 Palestinians have been killed in the territory since Oct. 7, and another 62,681 have been wounded. Al-Qidra said many casualties remain buried under the rubble from Israeli strikes or in areas where medics cannot reach them.

The Israeli military says it has killed around 9,000 militants, without providing evidence, and blames the high civilian death toll on Hamas because it fights in dense, residential neighborhoods.

The military says 195 of its soldiers have been killed since the start of the Gaza offensive.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to keep up the offensive until Hamas is dismantled and all the hostages are returned.

Nearly half of the captives were released during a weeklong cease-fire in November in exchange for the release of scores of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. Israel says some 130 remain in captivity, but only around 100 are believed to still be alive.