Israel-Hamas war: At least 7,028 people have been killed in Gaza by Israeli strikes

News Desk: The Hamas-run health ministry said Thursday that at least 7,028 people have been killed in Gaza by Israeli strikes since the militant group’s October 7 attacks on Israel.

Some 2,913 children and 1,709 women are among the dead — marking the highest number of war fatalities in Gaza since Israel unilaterally withdrew from the territory in 2005.

“I don’t think it will top what we spent on COVID, and I think they (the central bank) are too optimistic” on war costs, the unnamed official in the Accountant General’s department, which manages government funds and debt, told reporters in a briefing.

The central bank on Monday estimated the budget deficit would be 2.3% of gross domestic product in 2023 and 3.5% in 2024, versus a surplus in 2022, in the event that the conflict stayed contained to Gaza and did not spread to other fronts.

The United Nations issued a warning that “nowhere is safe” in Gaza as Israel stepped up air raids in preparation for a widely expected ground offensive.

US President Joe Biden expressed doubt on Wednesday regarding the accuracy of the Palestinian death toll figures in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. While the Gaza health ministry reported over 6,500 deaths in Israeli attacks, President Biden did not specify the reasons behind his skepticism. Additionally, Palestinian officials claimed that 471 people were killed in an explosion at Gaza’s Al-Ahli al-Arabi Hospital on October 17, but U.S. intelligence estimated the number to be between 100 and 300.

U.S. and allied forces stationed in Iraq and Syria as part of an international coalition combating jihadist groups have recently faced a series of drone and missile attacks. While the responsible parties have not officially claimed these attacks, the United States has attributed them to Iran and has issued warnings of potential retaliation against these proxies.

The upsurge in attacks is connected to the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas. This conflict began following a cross-border attack initiated by Hamas from Gaza on October 7, resulting in casualties according to Israeli authorities. Subsequently, Israel launched retaliatory airstrikes in Gaza, resulting in a significant number of casualties, as reported by the Gaza health ministry.

Armed groups affiliated with Iran have threatened to target U.S. interests due to Washington’s support for Israel. One such group, Ketaeb Hezbollah, has demanded the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq or the possibility of facing hostilities.

According to the Pentagon, there were a total of 10 attacks on American and allied forces in Iraq and three in Syria between October 17 and 24. These attacks involved a combination of one-way attack drones and rockets.