Hamas Casualty Count Raises Concern as Israel Faces Scrutiny Over Civilian Deaths: BBC Verify Investigation

(Jerusalem, Israel) Israel is facing mounting concerns over the increasing number of civilian casualties in Gaza, with reports indicating over 30,000 Palestinians have been killed. Pressure is mounting on Israel to demonstrate that it is fulfilling its promise to eradicate Hamas. The Israeli military claims to have eliminated more than 10,000 fighters in response to a Hamas attack that resulted in approximately 1,200 deaths.

However, doubts persist regarding Israel’s ability to distinguish between combatants and civilians. President Joe Biden criticized Israel for its indiscriminate bombings, leading to a decline in international support. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) maintain that they are targeting Hamas fighters and infrastructure with precision to minimize civilian casualties.

Hamas has not disclosed the number of military casualties, with conflicting reports indicating varying figures. The World Health Organization has vouched for the accuracy of the death toll provided by Gaza’s health ministry. Despite the credible data collection methods employed, the ministry’s tally does not differentiate between civilians and fighters.

Analysis of the demographic breakdown reveals that over 70% of those killed in Gaza were women and children, raising questions about Israel’s claim of targeting 10,000 fighters. Efforts to obtain detailed information from the IDF on their methodology for counting fighter deaths have been met with silence.

Experts have expressed concerns about the challenges in accurately assessing combatant casualties, especially with Hamas’s presence in tunnels and the lack of distinct military uniforms. The civilian population’s alleged use as human shields by Hamas adds another layer of complexity to the casualty count.

The conflict’s civilian death rate has significantly increased, with a large proportion of women and children among the fatalities. Experts argue that the high number of civilian deaths indicates indiscriminate killing by Israeli forces. The ongoing conflict in Gaza continues to draw international attention and condemnation for the escalating death toll.