By Aldgra Fredly
Israel on Friday revised the death toll from the Oct. 7 terror attack by Hamas to around 1,200, down from a previous government estimate of 1,400, according to an Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson.
“Around 1,200 is the official number of victims of the October 7 massacre,” foreign ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Mr. Haiat said the estimated death count was revised on Nov. 9, which includes the number of foreigners who died in the attack. The tally may change when all the bodies have been identified, he added.
According to Mr. Haiat, Israeli authorities revised the number because they suspected that “a lot of” unidentified corpses previously included in the tally were Hamas terrorists killed in the attack, AFP reported.
In a statement denouncing the UNESCO resolution on X, Mr. Haiat stated that Hamas “had brutally murdered about 1,200 people” and abducted 240 others, including babies, children, women, and the elderly.
Israel rejected the UN body’s resolution on the situation in Gaza and called it “one-sided,” saying that it completely ignores the brutal attack carried out by the Hamas terrorist group on Oct. 7.
“The resolution gives the green light to the Hamas terrorist organization, which is worse than ISIS, to continue to murder and kidnap as well as to continue to use the residents of the Gaza Strip as human shields,” Mr. Haiat stated on X.
The UNESCO resolution raised concerns about the “deteriorating situation” in Gaza and called for immediate action to protect Gaza’s cultural heritage from further damage.
Israel has aimed its airstrikes at Hamas targets in Gaza and imposed a complete siege, cutting off the food, water, and fuel that it controlled in Gaza until Hamas frees all hostages it took on Oct. 7.
The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said the death toll in Gaza has topped 11,000 this week, a number The Epoch Times is unable to verify.
The United Nations has called for a humanitarian ceasefire and urged Israel to allow lifesaving relief to reach Gaza.
The World Health Organization said Friday that 20 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are no longer functioning, including a pediatric hospital that stopped operations after a reported Israeli strike in the area.
‘Fighting Continues’ in Gaza
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that a ceasefire will not occur without the release of hostages.
He added that Israeli forces are making every effort to reduce civilian casualties in Gaza, including by providing safe zones and safe corridors for civilians.
But Israel has agreed to daily four-hour pauses in operations in Gaza to let civilians move south, according to National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on Nov. 9.
“The fighting continues, and there will be no ceasefire without the release of our captives,” Mr. Netanyahu’s office told The Epoch Times via email.
“Israel allows safe passage from the northern strip to the south, as 50,000 Gazans did just yesterday. Once again, we call on the civilian population in Gaza to evacuate to the south,” the email added.
U.S. President Joe Biden told reporters there was no chance of a ceasefire, but he and other U.S. officials have been pressuring Israeli counterparts to pause fighting for longer to let civilians depart.
Mr. Biden said he requested a pause longer than three days, but that the Israelis “took a little longer” than he hoped to agree.
In response, Mr. Netanyahu told Fox News on Nov. 9 that Israel faced “battled conditions on the ground, the safety of our own forces, the hostages we want to get out, and the humanitarian corridors we want to operate—which I said, Hamas is preventing by using its own fire … preventing Palestinian civilians from leaving.”
Zachary Stieber and the Associated Press contributed to this report.