Pentagon Chief Stumbles Over The Number Of Palestinians Killed By Israel | EUROtoday

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U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin mentioned Thursday that Israeli forces had killed over 25,000 girls and youngsters in Gaza — however the Pentagon walked again his comment, saying Austin was referring to Palestinian well being officers’ rely of all Palestinians killed since Oct. 7.

Austin’s remark got here the identical day Palestinian well being officers mentioned the demise toll in Gaza surpassed 30,000 folks.

Testifying earlier than the House Armed Services Committee Thursday, Austin was requested concerning the demise toll by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.)

“About how many Palestinian women and children have been killed by Israel since Oct. 7?” Khanna requested.

“It’s over 25,000,” Austin responded.

After Austin’s comment throughout the listening to, a Pentagon spokesperson hedged on the determine, saying Austin was utilizing numbers from Palestinian officers and referring to all Palestinians killed, not simply girls and youngsters.

“During the hearing today, Secretary Austin was asked how many women and children have died in Gaza,” Sabrina Singh, the deputy press secretary, informed The Jerusalem Post. “To clarify, the Secretary’s answer was citing an estimate from the Hamas-controlled health ministry that more than 25,000 total Palestinians have been killed in Gaza. We cannot independently verify these Gaza casualty figures.”

During a Pentagon press briefing after the listening to, Department of Defense Press Secretary Pat Ryder mentioned “we’re dependent on open-source information, like many of you. We’re certain that thousands of people have been killed, but as for the specific numbers, we cannot verify those specific statistics.”

The secretary’s feedback got here as a shock given the United States’ public skepticism towards casualty figures from Gaza: President Joe Biden infamously mentioned in late October final 12 months, “I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed.” (HuffPost reported afterward that inner U.S. assessments often cited the Gaza well being ministry’s statistics.)

Palestinian well being officers mentioned Thursday that the demise toll within the Gaza Strip had handed 30,000 after Israeli troops reportedly fired on a crowd of Palestinians ready for assist in Gaza City.

Health officers don’t distinguish between combatants and civilians of their casualty figures, however as The Associated Press reported, the well being ministry “says women and children make up around two-thirds of those killed.” That would put the variety of girls and youngsters killed at round 20,000.

But information retailers additionally usually notice that demise toll figures from Gaza could undercount the total scope of killing — for instance, folks presumed to be buried underneath rubble attributable to Israeli air strikes.