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The United Nations says casualties among women and children in Gaza are low. what happened?


The United Nations has begun citing much lower figures for the deaths of women and children in Gaza and relying on more conservative sources to tally the number of people killed in Israel’s military offensive in the area.

As recently as May 6, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated in a regularly updated report Online report The total death toll was 34,735, including at least 9,500 women and 14,500 children.

Two days later, the United Nations said in another statement Online updates 4,959 women and 7,797 children were killed. While the total number of deaths is roughly the same, a U.N. official said the ages and genders of some 10,000 of the dead have not yet been included in the new classification because information on their identities is still incomplete.

Changes in the UN figures – and confusion over the discrepancies – have intensified the debate over the credibility of Gaza authorities’ tally of the war’s death toll. The deaths of women and children are seen as an important, albeit incomplete, indicator of how many civilians have been killed, an issue at the heart of the debate over Israel’s conduct of the war.

Israeli officials have long said they are skeptical of data collected by Gaza authorities. Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israeli forces had killed 14,000 Hamas militants and 16,000 civilians, without elaborating on the source of those figures.

After the United Nations released a lower recorded death toll of women and children, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz called the new figures “a miraculous resurrection of the dead in Gaza” and said the United Nations relied on “false data provided by terrorists” “. organize. “

The United Nations has not yet explained why it switched to citing a more conservative source of data – the Gaza Ministry of Health – rather than using the Gaza government media office as it has done in the past. Both offices are part of the Hamas government in the enclave.

Many international officials and experts familiar with the way the health ministry verifies Gaza’s death toll, which pulls data from morgues and hospitals across the region, say its numbers are generally reliable.

The health ministry said the number of women and children who died was based on the total number of people for whom it could fully verify their identities – a total of 24,840 as of May 13.

More than 10,000 people were also killed, the health ministry said, without providing their full names, official identification numbers or other information needed to identify them. This is why they are not included in the detailed data on murdered women and children currently cited by the United Nations.

The United Nations said the process of fully identifying the other 10,000 victims, as well as their gender and age, was “ongoing”.

Patrick Kingsley Contributed reporting.

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