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UN 'gravely concerned' over Gaza's humanitarian crisis

The United Nations on Sunday warned of a "rapidly unfolding health disaster of widespread proportions" in the Gaza Strip, saying that the latter's medical facilities are on the verge of collapse amid Israel's non-stop attacks against the strip. “We are now looking at a health and humanitarian disaster,” warned UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territory James Rawley in a joint statement with Robert Turner, director of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) Operations in the Gaza Strip, and Ambrogio Manenti, acting Head of Office of World Health Organization operations in the Palestinian territories. According to the statement, at least half of all public health primary care clinics are closed. Moreover, one third of Gaza's hospitals, 14 primary healthcare clinics and 29 Palestinian Red Crescent and Ministry of Health ambulances have been damaged during the current Israeli offensive, launched on July 7. Moreover, the officials stated that at least five medical staff have been killed in the line of duty and tens have been injured, noting that 40 percent of medical staff are unable to get to their clinics and hospitals due to the "widespread violence."

They went on to say that "critical supplies of medicines and disposables are almost depleted" and that damage and destruction of power supplies, caused by Israeli attacks on Gaza's only power plant, has left hospitals dependent on unreliable back-up generators.

At least 1,766 Palestinians have been killed in the devastating Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, including at least 398 children and 207 women, according to Palestinian health officials.

The U.N. statement said over 8000 Palestinians have been injured – many seriously - since the beginning of the Israeli operation.

However, Palestinian health officials say that over 9320 have been injured, nearly half of which are children.

Israel has been pounding the Gaza Strip since the late night of July 7 with the ostensible aim of halting rocket fire from the blockaded coastal enclave.

The vast majority of the dead and injured victims are civilians: children, women and elderly people, according to the U.N. as well as Palestinian health officials. 

Gaza-based resistance factions, meanwhile, have continued to fire rocket at Israeli cities in response to relentless Israeli bombardments.

Israel's "Operation Protective Edge" is the deadliest in three Israeli military offensives on the embattled Gaza Strip - home to some 1.8 million Palestinians – within the past six years.

The Palestinian death toll from the current offensive alone has surpassed the combined total fatalities from two past major operations - including 2008/9's operation "Cast Lead" which killed at least 1500 Palestinians in three weeks.

According to Israeli figures, at least 64 soldiers have been killed in battles with Palestinian fighters in Gaza, making up the highest Israeli military fatality toll in the three assaults. Three Israelis have also been killed by rocket fire from Gaza.

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