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AP analysis shows civilian death toll in Gaza war greatly inflated

AP analysis shows civilian death toll in Gaza war greatly inflated


AP analysis shows civilian death toll in Gaza war greatly inflated

JERUSALEM — The Israel-Hamas war appears to have become much less deadly for Palestinian women and children, according to an AP analysis of Gaza Health Ministry data.

Women and children made up fewer than 40% of those killed in the Gaza Strip during April, down from more than 60% in October. The decline both coincides with Israel’s changing battlefield tactics and contradicts the ministry’s own public statements.

After Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, Israel launched an intense aerial bombardment on densely populated Gaza, and then invaded with thousands of ground troops backed by tanks and artillery.

By the end of October women and people 17 and younger accounted for 64% of the 6,745 killed who were fully identified by the Health Ministry.

After saying it had achieved many key objectives, the Israeli army began withdrawing ground troops earlier this year. It has focused lately on drone strikes and limited ground operations.

As the intensity of fighting has scaled back, the death toll has continued to rise, but at a slower rate – and with seemingly fewer civilians caught in the crossfire. During the month of April, women and children made up 38% of the fully identified deaths, the Health Ministry’s most recent data shows.

As recently as March, the ministry claimed over several days that 72% of the dead were women and children, even as underlying data showed the percentage was well below that.

Israeli leaders have pointed to such inconsistencies as evidence that the ministry is inflating the figures for political gain.

Two international courts in the Hague are examining accusations that Israel has committed war crimes and genocide against Palestinians – allegations it adamantly denies.