Israeli strikes kill at least 67 Palestinians on first day of Ramadan

Parachutes drop humanitarian aid into the northern Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Monday, March 11, 2024.
Parachutes drop humanitarian aid into the northern Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Monday, March 11, 2024. Copyright Maya Alleruzzo/Copyright 2023 The AP All rights reserved
Copyright Maya Alleruzzo/Copyright 2023 The AP All rights reserved
By AP, Euronews
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Gaza's Health Ministry said 67 people were killed by Israeli strikes over the last 24 hours, as Palestinians embarked on fasting for the holy month of Ramadan.

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With no end to the war sight, Palestinians in Gaza began fasting Monday for the holy month of Ramadan as hunger worsens across the strip and pressure is raised on Israel over the growing humanitarian crisis.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said the bodies of 67 people killed by Israeli strikes were brought to hospitals over the past 24 hours, bringing the Palestinian death toll to more than 31,112 since the war began. The ministry doesn’t differentiate between civilians and combatants in its count, but says that women and children make up two-thirds of the dead.

Meanwhile hundreds of Palestinians attended prayers at a major Jerusalem holy site on the first day of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The congregation at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound on midday Monday was far smaller than in previous years. At some entrances, Israeli forces could be seen turning some worshippers away, citing unspecified security concerns. At one entrance, however, worshippers could be seen filing through without being stopped.

The compound is the third holiest site in Islam. It is built on a hilltop that is the holiest site for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount because it was the location of the two Jewish temples in antiquity.

The site has long been a major flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Tensions have soared in recent years as Israel has allowed increasing numbers of Jews to visit the compound. That has stoked Palestinian fears that Israel intends to take over or partition it.

Israel’s government, which includes prominent religious ultranationalists, denies having any such plans. Israeli authorities have said they will allow normal access to Muslim worshippers this year, even as war raging in Gaza threatens to spill over across the region.

Hamas has called on Palestinians to confront Israeli forces during Ramadan, the holy month of dawn-to-dusk fasting.

Five months of war have forced around 80% of Gaza’s 2.3 million people from their homes and pushed hundreds of thousands to the brink of famine.

Egypt has intensified aid drops in the Gaza Strip, according to the Ministry of Defence, who released footage of the aid being delivered. 

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees described the situation in the north of Gaza as “tragic”.

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