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Hamas fighters make up almost half of the dead in Gaza: Benjamin Netanyahu



Hamas Fighters Comprise Almost Half Gaza

Benjamin Netanyahu said that about 16,000 Palestinian civilians have been killed since the start of the war.


Israel’s prime minister said on a podcast that nearly half of those killed in the Gaza war were Hamas fighters, downplaying the civilian toll that has sparked global outrage.

Benjamin Netanyahu insisted that the total toll is lower than that of authorities in the Palestinian territory.

At least 35,091 people have been killed in that area during the more than seven-month war between Israel and Palestinian militants, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.

But Netanyahu suggested in an interview on the “Call Me Back” podcast on Sunday that the number of deaths in Gaza was actually around 30,000 and that Hamas fighters accounted for almost half that number.

Authorities in Gaza do not provide a breakdown of the number of Palestinian militants killed, but have repeatedly said that a large majority of those killed in the war are women and children.

The United Nations and a long line of countries have expressed alarm at the number of civilian deaths.

Volker Turk, the United Nations rights chief, warned in a statement last month that children in particular are “disproportionately paying the highest price in this war.”

But Netanyahu emphasized to podcaster Dan Senor that Israel had “been able to maintain the ratio of civilians to fighters killed… (to) a ratio of approximately one to one.”

“Fourteen thousand have been killed, fighters, and probably about 16,000 civilians have been killed,” he said.

He gave similar figures in March during an interview with Politico, at a time when Gaza’s Health Ministry reported a death toll of at least 31,045.

Netanyahu said at the time that the number included 13,000 militants and that the number of civilians was “much less than” 20,000.

His latest comment comes at a time of increasing pressure from Israel’s main military supplier, the United States, over the Palestinian toll caused by the war.

Washington has halted deliveries of 3,500 bombs and US President Joe Biden warned he would stop delivering artillery shells and other weapons if Israel carries out a full-scale invasion of Rafah, where about a million people are sheltering.

A U.S. State Department report said Friday that it is “reasonable to assess” that Israel has used U.S. weapons in a manner inconsistent with humanitarian rights standards, but that the United States has not could arrive at “conclusive findings”.

The bloodiest Gaza war ever erupted after Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli figures.

Militants also seized about 250 hostages, dozens of whom were released during a weeklong ceasefire in November. Israel estimates that 128 prisoners remain in Gaza, including 36 who the army says are dead.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)