Intended for healthcare professionals


Gaza: Death toll rises to nearly 20 000 as attacks on hospitals and staff continue

BMJ 2023; 383 doi: (Published 20 December 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;383:p2973
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

Doctors and healthcare staff are being arrested in Gaza as tanks surround hospitals and heavy Israeli bombardments and ground operations continue in the Palestinian territory.1

The UN said that almost 20 000 people had been killed in Gaza since 7 October—about 70% of whom are thought to be women and children—and 52 286 people injured. In the West Bank 291 Palestinians have been killed, including 75 children killed by Israeli forces or Israeli settlers, the UN has said.

Only eight of 36 hospitals in Gaza are still functional and able to admit new patients,2 and just a quarter (18 of 72) of its primary care centres remain functional, the UN and the World Health Organization have reported.

The escalation in violence in the region began on 7 October after Hamas militants launched an …

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