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How the Gaza fatality numbers are faked


ONE of the most bizarre aspects of the Israel-Hamas conflict has been the way the entire mainstream media accepts without question the casualty figures from Hamas (who, of course, run the ‘Palestinian Health Ministry’ in Gaza that provide the figures). This is despite the fact that it is known that Hamas massively fabricated casualty figures in previous conflicts (for example, by classifying most Hamas fighters killed as civilians and including all naturally occurring deaths during the period of the conflict).

 The only justification I have seen for using figures provided by a proscribed terrorist organisation is that UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) have ‘largely corroborated’ them. Yet, as has now been proven conclusively, not only is UNRWA in Gaza essentially controlled by Hamas, but many of its members are Hamas operatives, including several who took part in the October 7 massacre.

A few days ago Hamas assured the world that exactly 30,960 Gazans have been killed since October 7. The mainstream media duly accepted this figure. Yet the same Hamas people who know this precise number of Gazans killed say they have no idea how many of the 134 Israeli hostages whom they have been holding in extremely secure locations for over five months are dead or alive. And not a single mainstream media voice questions the inconsistency in this knowledge about deaths in Gaza.

The Washington Institute produced a comprehensive overview of how the Hamas statistics systematically overestimated the number of children killed, while grossly underestimating the number of male combatants killed. Now the statistician Abraham Wyner (who interestingly was a key expert witness for Rand Simberg explaining the ‘hockey stick’ fraud in the recent case brought against Simberg and Mark Steyn by Michael Mann) has gone further.

Wyner’s statistical analysis demonstrates how the claimed daily fatality numbers provided by Hamas between October 26 and November 10 were clearly faked. Wyner shows that, in addition to blatant contradictions in the numbers, there were a number of statistically implausible relationships, notably:

  1. a statistically unrealistic linearity in the increasing number of deaths

2. lack of correlation between daily child and women numbers (on days when more children are killed we would also expect more women to be killed):

3. and strong negative correlation between daily men and women numbers (suggesting, bizarrely, that on days where fewer men are killed, more women are killed):


Here are the raw Hamas data used in Wyner’s analysis:

Wyner’s analysis is excellent but failed to note a further glaring issue with the Hamas data:

They do not provide a breakdown of ‘children’ by age or gender.

In fact, many Hamas armed combatants are teenage males aged between 14 and 19 (see also this).

Moreover, whereas it is standard to classify those under 18 as ‘children’, Hamas routinely counts combatants under the age of 20 as ‘children’. The only breakdown of casualty figures by age and gender from the ‘Palestinian Health Ministry’ that I could find is this from October 7-23 2023:

First of all note that, whereas it is normal to classify those under 18 as ‘children’, Hamas has the ambiguous 15-19 category, indicating that they classify all those under 20 as children. Also, there are obviously fake numbers of deaths for ages 0-4, 5-9 and 10-14. But note that even they state a disproportionate number of male deaths in the categories 10-14 and 15-19 – all of whom Hamas classify as ‘children’.

In summary: a significant number of fatalities who Hamas claims are ‘children’ are in fact combatants.

The current total of ‘over 30,000 mainly women and children Gaza deaths’ is continually used as a propaganda tool against Israel to call for a ‘ceasefire’ which would not only leave the Israeli hostages captive and Hamas in control, but would also guarantee future massacres against Israeli civilians. Since Israel has provided evidence of around 13,000 Hamas combatants killed, even if the 30,000 killed is correct, this would represent a civilian to combatant death ratio that is remarkably low compared to other conflicts.

This article appeared on Norman Fenton on March 11, 2024, and is republished by kind permission

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Norman Fenton
Norman Fenton
Norman Fenton is a British mathematician and computer scientist. He is Professor of Risk Information Management in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London.

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