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WASHINGTON: The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza is expected to “severely depress” the Palestinian economy, the IMF said Thursday.

“We do expect the conflict to severely depress economic activity in both the West Bank and Gaza, where even before the conflict GDP growth was set to decline over the medium term,” the International Monetary Fund communications chief, Julie Kozack, told reporters.

She added that while the economies of the West Bank, Gaza and Israel will be the hardest-hit, “the ultimate impact will depend on the duration and intensity of the conflict.”

Israel expects difficult new stage in Gaza, sticks to war aims

Israeli forces are continuing their operations inside the Gaza Strip, and have vowed to destroy Hamas for its unprecedented cross-border attack on October 7, in which 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 hostages were seized, according to Israeli figures.

The death toll in Gaza has now soared above 17,000, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. Vast areas of the besieged Palestinian territory have been reduced to a rubble as a result of Israel’s response by air, land and sea.

The IMF announced last week that it will revise its economic outlook for countries in the Middle East and North Africa due to the conflict, warning it will have wide-ranging consequences for “both people and economies” in the region.

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