Netanyahu : 'Nearly Half Of Gaza's Death Toll Includes Hamas Fighters'

A report from the US State Department on Friday acknowledged concerns that Israel may have used American arms in ways inconsistent with humanitarian standards but stated that conclusive findings could not be reached.

According to the health ministry in Gaza, controlled by Hamas, more than 35,091 individuals have lost their lives in the territory over a period exceeding seven months due to the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking on a podcast, stated that nearly half of those casualties in the Gaza conflict were Hamas combatants, downplaying concerns about civilian casualties that have triggered global condemnation. Netanyahu argued that the overall death toll was lower than what Palestinian authorities claimed.

Netanyahu suggested during an interview on the “Call Me Back” podcast that the death toll in Gaza was closer to 30,000, with Hamas fighters constituting almost half of that figure.

While authorities in Gaza do not offer specific data on the number of Palestinian militants killed, they have consistently stated that the majority of casualties in the conflict have been women and children.

Numerous countries, along with the United Nations, have expressed alarm over the high number of civilian casualties. UN rights chief Volker Turk warned last month that children, in particular, are disproportionately affected by the conflict.

Despite criticisms, Netanyahu told podcast host Dan Senor that Israel had maintained a roughly equal ratio of civilian to combatant deaths, estimating around 14,000 militants and approximately 16,000 civilians killed.

READ MORE : Israeli Forces Conduct Operations In Eastern Rafah And Other Gaza Regions

This is not the first time Netanyahu has provided such figures. He previously gave similar estimates during an interview with Politico in March when Gaza’s health ministry reported a death toll of at least 31,045.

Netanyahu’s recent remarks come amid increased pressure from the United States, Israel’s primary military supplier, regarding civilian casualties in the conflict. Washington temporarily halted the delivery of 3,500 bombs, and President Joe Biden warned against supplying artillery shells and other weapons if Israel undertakes a full-scale invasion of Rafah, where approximately one million people are seeking refuge.

A report from the US State Department on Friday acknowledged concerns that Israel may have used American arms in ways inconsistent with humanitarian standards but stated that conclusive findings could not be reached.

The deadliest Gaza conflict in history erupted following Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel, resulting in over 1,170 deaths, mostly civilians, according to Media Report tally based on Israeli official data.

During the conflict, militants also captured approximately 250 hostages, with scores being released during a week-long ceasefire in November. Israel estimates that 128 captives remain in Gaza, including 36 who are presumed dead.