Hamas says the Gaza casualty data is ‘incomplete’

A third of recorded deaths do not feature details such as the victim’s full name or date of birth


Palestinians pray by the bodies of victims from one family killed in an overnight Israeli bombardment on the Nuseirat refugee camp (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

V Gaza’s Hamas-run Ministry of Health has said it holds “incomplete data” for a third of the Palestinian casualties recorded. In a report on Telegram last week, it said 11,371 recorded deaths were missing one or more of the victim’s identity number, full name, date of birth or date of death. Earlier this month, it said 12,263 casualty records were incomplete.

According to Hamas, the Gaza death count, the veracity of which is doubted by statisticians, is primarily collated by hospitals. Around 17,000 fatalities have been recorded in this way, the ministry has said. Several hospitals, including Al-Shifa, have been the site of battles, however, complicating data collection.

The other deaths are based on accounts from “reliable media sources”, according to the Hamas-run ministry, although it has not revealed which these are. Last month, an essay by Abraham Wyner, professor of statistics and data science at the University of Pennsylvania, revealed how Hamas “fakes casualty numbers”.

Last month, statistics experts claimed the ministry’s assertion that 70 per cent of all casualties of the war were women and children was “statistically impossible”.

Writing for Fathom Journal, economist and population-models expert Tom Simpson, biomathematician Lewi Stone and international law expert Gregory Rose said the statistics were “not reliable at all”.

They wrote: “A Health Ministry report released on 3 March showed that since the start of the war only 58 per cent of the hospital-registered deaths are women and children. If we restrict analysis to 2024 deaths alone, this figure drops all the way down to 42 per cent. This is still a large proportion, but it should be remembered that women and children (the latter defined as persons under 18 years of age) make up of 75 per cent of Gaza’s population. As such, this 42 per cent figure actually reflects a significant avoidance of civilian casualties on the part of the IDF.”

Joe Truzman, senior research analyst at the Long War Journal, said: “It is important to recognise that Hamas is deeply invested in shaping the narrative that emerges from Gaza, particularly regarding the number of casualties in the war.

"Moreover, this control of data extends beyond the statistics provided by the Hamas-controlled health ministry, as there is also a deliberate effort to downplay the number of terrorists who have been killed by Israel in the war, potentially numbering more than 10,000.” Two analyses published in medical journal The Lancet in December, however, argued instead that the numbers were credible.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive