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30,000 Israel soldiers treated for mental health since start of Gaza war

February 28, 2024 at 6:16 pm

This picture taken from Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip shows an Israeli army soldier sitting on an armoured personnel carrier as it moves out of Gaza on 26 February, 2024 [MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images]

Around 30,000 Israeli soldiers have called up a mental health hotline since the outbreak of the Gaza Strip on 7 October, according to the army, Anadolu Agency reports.

A military statement said that around 85 per cent of the soldiers who sought psychological treatment had returned to active duty.

“Around 200 soldiers were discharged from the army due to the psychological problems they suffered from the war”, it added.

The Israeli army’s Medical Corps plans to inaugurate a new mental health centre for soldiers on Thursday, amid fears of troops developing post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the Gaza war.

The new mental health centre will include a clinic to treat PTSD among troops, the army said.

On 2 February, Yekhiel Levechitz, the head of the army’s clinical department for mental illnesses, said around 3,000 soldiers had been examined by mental health experts since 7 October.

Israel has launched a deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip following a 7 October Hamas attack, which Tel Aviv says killed nearly 1,200 people.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

The ensuing Israeli bombardment has killed nearly 29,954 Palestinians and injured over 70,000 with mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

The Israeli war has pushed 85 per cent of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60 per cent of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

READ: UN calls for mental health support for children impacted by Gaza war