The number of Palestinians killed by Israel's onslaught in the Gaza Strip has risen to 17,487, with over 46,480 injured, the Health Ministry in the besieged enclave announced on Friday.
Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said at a press conference that 350 were killed and 558 injured in the past several hours alone, while many other victims remain under the rubble.
Al-Qudra also said that 70% of victims from the Israeli ground and air attacks were women and children, while the Israeli army still holds 36 detained medical staff, including Mohammad Abu Salmiya, director general of Al-Shifa, the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip, who was arrested on Nov. 23.
Describing the health situation in southern Gaza as catastrophic, al-Qudra said all hospitals in the area were running out of space to treat patients, with the bed occupancy at operational hospitals at 262%.
The spokesman had said Thursday that medical teams were facing difficult circumstances at Al-Shifa, which Israeli forces seized control over last month, and urged support from international organizations to help revive Gaza's health sector.
Israel resumed its military offensive on the Gaza Strip on Dec. 1 after the end of a weeklong humanitarian pause with Hamas.
The Israeli death toll in the Hamas attack stood at 1,200, while 138 hostages are still held by the Palestinian group in Gaza, according to official figures.