In a BBC interview on Friday, President Emmanuel Macron of France, who traveled to Israel last month to show solidarity, called on Israel to halt bombing that is killing “these babies, these ladies, these old people.”
In reply, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said that his country tries to minimize civilian casualties, adding that if Hamas is not destroyed, the violence it inflicts on Israel “will be committed tomorrow in Paris, New York and anywhere in the world.”
The overall death toll in Gaza, as reported by the health authorities, part of the Hamas-run government, surpassed 11,000 on Friday. Last month, President Biden cautioned against accepting figures from Gazan officials, but on Wednesday a senior State Department official told Congress that the true toll numbers could be “even higher than are being cited.”
Among those killed are more than 100 staff members of a United Nations agency supporting Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, and at least 40 journalists and other media workers, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The rate of journalist fatalities is the highest for any conflict since it began tracking such deaths in 1992, the committee said.
The Gazan authorities have not said how many of those killed have been leaders and fighters of Hamas, Israel’s stated target, but they say the highest toll has been on the most vulnerable. More than 4,500 Gazan children and 3,000 women have been killed since the conflict began, they reported, and close to 27,500 people have been wounded.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry on Friday revised the government’s estimate of people killed by the Hamas-led assault on Israel on Oct. 7 from more than 1,400 to about 1,200.
Not long after the Oct. 7 raid and the Israeli retaliation began, hospital compounds in Gaza became makeshift refugee centers. Al Shifa, in particular, harbored thousands of displaced Gazans whose homes had been damaged or who simply thought Israeli forces would be less likely to attack a hospital than their neighborhoods.