What’s happening: Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, there has been significant debate over what the true death toll is in Gaza. Hamas claims that about 20,000 people have been killed, including 6,150 children and over 4,000 women. Israeli officials told Newsweek that they have killed 5,000 combatants and 10,000 civilians since the fighting began.
Why the controversy? The only source for casualty numbers within Gaza is the Gaza Ministry of Health, which is run by the terrorist group Hamas and does not distinguish between civilians and soldiers in its count.
- Also: It was recently revealed that the Gaza Ministry of Health has claimed more women and children were killed on certain days than the total people killed on those days. On other days, it has claimed a single-digit number of men were killed while hundreds of women and children were killed. This suggests death count inflation.
Proven unreliable: The Gaza Ministry of Health claimed almost 500 civilians were killed by an Israeli air strike at Al-Ahli Hospital in October when, in reality, U.S. intelligence has shown the blast came from a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket and that between 100-300 people were killed.
- No unbiased source: At the same time, Israel also has an incentive to suppress estimates of civilian deaths in Gaza, as they are the ones who must justify how they are conducting the war.
Bottom line: Both Hamas and Israel have reasons to skew the death numbers, suggesting the true number is somewhere in between. And no matter what, it is undeniable that the human toll of the war to eliminate Hamas has been devastating.