The death toll of the Israeli aggression on Gaza rises every day amid the difficulty of documentation (Getty Images)

The accurate census of the martyrs of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip is becoming increasingly difficult, with the continued heavy bombardment and destruction of basic infrastructure, the repeated disruption of telephone and Internet services, and the death or loss of a number of those in charge of the documentation process, while the recent toll reached more than 16,43 martyrs and <>,<> injured, most of them women and children.

In the first 6 weeks of the aggression, hospital morgues across Gaza sent the numbers to the main statistics center of the Gaza Ministry of Health at Shifa Hospital, and officials used Excel to record the names, ages and identity numbers of the martyrs, and transferred them to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah.

However, the four officials who managed the documentation at al-Shifa Medical Complex, one of whom was martyred in an Israeli strike on the hospital, and the others were arrested when Israeli forces took over the building on the pretext that it was the center of operations of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), according to the Ramallah Health Ministry.

With the collapse of the one-week humanitarian truce that ended last Friday, the update on the death toll of the martyrs and injured, which was issued daily at a conference held by Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra, became irregular.

Non-exhaustive outcome

Experts confirmed to Reuters that the current toll of victims of the Israeli aggression on Gaza is not comprehensive.

A spokesman for a UN human rights agency said their monitoring of the figures provided by Gaza's Ministry of Health indicated that they were underestimated because they did not include those killed who did not arrive at hospitals or who may be under the rubble.

Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kayla said the number of bodies feared to be buried under the rubble now stands in the thousands, adding that a large part of Gaza's civil defense drilling equipment was destroyed during Israeli airstrikes.

Credible figures

Public health experts told Reuters that before the war, Gaza had good population statistics and smooth health information better than most countries in the Middle East, and there was no reason to doubt its authenticity.

Una Campbell, a professor at the London School of Health, stressed that Palestinian health authorities have solid credibility in their methods of maintaining basic statistics and tracking deaths in general, not only in times of war, and UN agencies rely on them.

Nathaniel Raymond, executive director of the Humanitarian Research Lab at Yale University's School of Public Health, noted that Palestinian data collection capabilities are professional, and many of the ministry's employees have been trained in the United States.

Documentation is more difficult

Since the expansion of the ground operation to the southern Gaza Strip after the truce, the ability of the Palestinian Ministry of Health to collect accurate data on the number of martyrs has declined, especially with the systematic destruction of the health sector.

The World Health Organization's envoy to Gaza, Richard Peppercorn, said that documenting war victims is becoming increasingly difficult, because they usually get figures from the Ministry of Health, but for days the documentation relied more on estimates due to the difficulty of collecting data.

Israel did not deny

Israeli authorities have not questioned the death toll announced by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, with an Israeli official saying the toll was "more or less correct."

He said about a third of those killed in Gaza so far were from what he described as enemy fighters, estimating their number at between 5,10 and <>,<>, without providing details on the justification for his assessment.

Source: Reuters