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UN halves estimate of women, children killed in Gaza

Washington, D.C. — The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has revised its child fatality figure from the war in Gaza sharply downward, according to The Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

The FDD is a research institute focused on national security and foreign policy.

OCHA reported more than 14,500 deaths on May 6 but two days later changed the number to 7,797. It also revised downward its figure for women fatalities from more than 9,500 deaths to 4,959 deaths. 

The Jerusalem Post first reported the changes on May 11.

The UN attributed its original, higher figures to the Hamas-controlled Government Media Office (GMO) in Gaza, whose figures OCHA has cited continually for the past two months. The UN gave no source for the lower figures in its May 8 update, but the figures match those in a May 2 report from a different Hamas-controlled organization, the Gaza Ministry of Health.

"This change may signal that the UN has finally recognized the lack of evidence behind Hamas’s original claims that more than 14,000 children and 9,000 women have been killed in Gaza. If so, the UN should state clearly that it has lost confidence in sources whose credibility it has affirmed for months. While this change may only reflect the conclusion of one UN office out of the many operating in Gaza, it is a clear step forward," David Adesnik, FDD Senior Fellow and Director of Research.

In early April, the Gaza Ministry of Health admitted it had "incomplete data" to document more than 10,000 of the deaths it had previously reported, according to the FDD. Subsequently, the ministry indicated that it did not have names for more than 10,000 of the individuals it claimed to be deceased.

As of April 1, the ministry also stopped repeating the claim it made since the first weeks of the war that 70% of the dead were women and children, even suggesting the media invented this number. Meanwhile, the GMO continues to promote the 70% figure while revising its own numbers upwards, to remain consistent with that claim.

At least 143 journalists have been killed in Gaza since October 7, according to the GMO. 

A May 12 report from The Times of Israel said the health ministry reported at least 35,034 Palestinians were killed and 78,755 injured since the start of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza. 

The figures weren't independently verified and include at least 15,000 Hamas gunmen, according to the report. 

Israel said previously it killed some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7. To date, more than 270 Israel Defense Forces soldiers have been killed in the army’s Gaza ground operation.








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