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Gaza health ministry says IDF killed at least 274 people in hostage rescue operation

Palestinians killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip are brought to al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip, Saturday, June 8, 2024.
Palestinians killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip are brought to al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip, Saturday, June 8, 2024. Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Daniel Bellamy with AP
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Gaza’s health ministry says at least 274 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli air and ground raid that rescued four hostages held by Hamas.

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Gaza’s health ministry says at least 274 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli air and ground raid that rescued four hostages held by Hamas.

The ministry said on Sunday that around 700 people were also wounded in Saturday’s operation.

The United Nations and other international institutions and experts, as well as Palestinian authorities in the West Bank — rivals of Hamas — say the Gaza ministry has long made a good-faith effort to account for the dead under the most difficult conditions.

In reaction to the news out of Gaza, the EU's top foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, said on X the EU "condemns this in the strongest terms" and that "the bloodbath must end immediately".

 The operation deep into central Gaza was the largest rescue operation since Oct. 7, when Hamas and other militants stormed across the border, killing some 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostage.

In Gaza, medics described scenes of horror and chaos as wounded people poured into nearby hospitals that were already struggling to treat the wounded from days of heavy Israeli strikes in the area.

“We had the gamut of war wounds, trauma wounds, from amputations to eviscerations to trauma, to TBIs (traumatic brain injuries), fractures, and obviously, big burns,” said Karin Huster of Doctors Without Borders, an international charity working in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, one of the facilities that received dead and wounded.

“Kids completely grey or white from the shock, burnt, screaming for their parents. Many of them are not screaming because they are in shock.”

A series of photos taken by the Associated Press showed the extent of Israel's destruction of buildings in the area, as well as some of those who were injured, including children.

Palestinians look at the aftermath of the Israeli bombing in Nuseirat refugee camp, Gaza Strip, Saturday, June 8, 2024.
Palestinians look at the aftermath of the Israeli bombing in Nuseirat refugee camp, Gaza Strip, Saturday, June 8, 2024. Jehad Alshrafi/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.

The Israeli military said it had attacked “threats to our forces in the area” and that a special forces officer was killed in the rescue operation.

Israelis celebrated the return of Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 22, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41, on Saturday after Israeli forces raided two locations at once while under fire.

Israel's war in Gaza has killed over 36,700 Palestinians, according to the ministry, which does not differentiate between civilians and combatants in its counts.

Israel has also been conducting raids into Palestinian cities and towns in the West Bank to crack down on militancy, leading to the deaths of around 530 Palestinians.

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