Tuesday, 25 June 2024

Hamas Exaggerated Civilian Deaths in Gaza: Report


Palestinian Hamas militants (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The Hamas-run health agency has systematically overestimated the number of women and children killed in Gaza, according to an Associated Press analysis of the agency's fatality reports.

The AP's Friday report shows the Gaza Health Ministry persistently overestimated the death toll, providing inaccurate daily counts. Most daily death tolls released by the Gaza Health Ministry, the report says, were "provided without supporting data."

The reporting on the inaccuracy of the Hamas data comes as Israel has faced international scrutiny for the civilian death toll in its war against Hamas, which killed more than 1,200 Israelis and took 252 hostages in its Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

"As Gaza’s hospital system collapsed in December and January, the ministry began relying on hard-to-verify ‘media reports’ to register new deaths," the AP reported. "Its March report included 531 individuals who were counted twice, and many deaths were self-reported by families, instead of health officials."

In February, the Hamas-run ministry said 75 percent of fatalities were women and children, "a level that was never confirmed in the detailed reports" it released, according to the AP. The Gaza Health Ministry's overcounting reportedly persisted in March, when it inaccurately claimed 72 percent of the dead were women and children.

In reality, the AP found, roughly 54 percent of fatalities in Gaza by the end of March were women and children.

The inaccurate death reports have been used to justify international pressure against Israel in its war against the terrorist group. The death tolls are typically released through Hamas’s official media office—which the AP called "a propaganda arm of the militant group."

Israeli officials last month rebuked the United Nations for accepting death toll numbers released by Hamas’s media office, with Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, saying, "Anyone who relies on fake data from a terrorist organization in order to promote blood libels against Israel is anti-Semitic and supports terrorism."

The U.N. on Friday added Israel to a "blacklist" of entities that harm children in conflicts, which includes terror organizations such as the Islamic State, al Qaeda, and Boko Haram. Katz called it a "shameful decision."

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday wrote on X, "The U.N. put itself today on history's blacklist when it adopted the absurd claims of Hamas. The IDF is the most moral military in the world and no 'flat earth' decision by the UN secretary general can change that."

Published under: Hamas , Israel


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