israel hamas war communications in gaza mostly severed as israel intensifies bombardment
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Oct. 27, 2023, 3:05 p.m. ET

Oct. 27, 2023, 3:05 p.m. ET

At least 1,500 children under the age of 10, including 600 under age 4, have been killed in Gaza since Oct. 7, according to the list of dead released on Thursday by the health ministry there.

More than 100 of those named were listed as less than a year old.

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800 killed

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800 killed

An Israeli official said that the government was assessing the data, which was released before Friday’s bombardment.

The release of the list — including name, age, gender and ID number for 6,747 people — was seen as a rebuttal by the Hamas-run health ministry to those who had expressed skepticism of its statement that about 7,000 people have been killed during Israel’s retaliatory air campaign against Gaza.

A day earlier, President Biden said he had “no confidence” in the tally by the health ministry, which is part of the Hamas government in Gaza but employs civil servants who predate Hamas’s control of the territory. Gazan health officials initially issued conflicting tallies of the people killed in an explosion at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital on Oct. 17, including figures that were at odds with estimates by U.S. officials.

Mr. Biden said on Wednesday that he had “no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed.” He also added, “I’m sure innocents have been killed, and it’s the price of waging a war.”

Pressed to explain Mr. Biden’s skepticism, a White House spokesman called the health ministry “a front for Hamas,” but said the Biden administration did not dispute that thousands of Palestinians had been killed.

Although it is not possible to independently verify the names listed, imagery and interviews with doctors and aid workers point to widespread death and destruction in Gaza. Human Rights Watch, a leading international rights group that has conducted its own investigations of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza in the past, has found death tolls that are consistent with the ministry’s, according to Omar Shakir, the group’s Israel and Palestine director.

The high number of children reported killed — about 40 percent of the total — is broadly in line with the high share of children in the Gazan population. Children make up about 47 percent of Gaza’s population, according to UNICEF, a higher share than most countries in the world. Only Afghanistan and parts of sub-Saharan Africa have a higher share of children.

In total, the list named 2,665 children who have been killed and 2,902 women and girls. The date of death is not listed for each individual, but a separate summary of the deaths from the health ministry indicates that the toll has been increasing in recent days.

The ministry said the list did not include an additional 281 people who had been killed but could not be identified, bringing the total number to 7,028. Also excluded were those believed to be under the rubble and considered missing.

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