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UN reports 56% of Gaza war casualties are women and children

Photo : AFP

In the recent conflict in Gaza, the United Nations revealed that over 56% of those killed were women and children. This information is based on data provided by Gaza's health ministry. However, Israel has disputed these numbers, accusing the ministry of being biased towards Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz criticized the UN for relying on what he called "fake data" from a "terrorist organization" to condemn Israel. The UN countered, stating that they have historically trusted the health ministry's data, though they acknowledge challenges in verifying casualty figures.

The conflict erupted after Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7. According to Israeli official figures, more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, were killed in this attack.

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The health ministry in Gaza reported that at least 35,173 people have been killed in the territory due to Israeli military operations since the conflict began. The ministry's breakdown shows that 40% of those identified were men, 20% women, and 32% children, with the remaining 8% being elderly individuals.

While this breakdown suggests a more balanced distribution of casualties, the UN believes that the actual number of women and children killed could be higher. They point out that many victims may still be trapped under rubble, and women and children are more likely to stay at home during airstrikes, increasing their risk of harm.

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers the latest breakdown from the health ministry as the most comprehensive so far. They estimate that at least 56% of the casualties are women and children, but they caution that the actual figure could be higher.

Jens Laerke, a spokesperson for the UN's humanitarian agency OCHA, emphasizes that the new breakdown doesn't contradict previous estimates that women and children made up a significant majority of those killed. Instead, it provides more detailed information about a subset of the overall casualty count of 35,000 deaths.

May 16, 2024 12:27 p.m. 2478

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