BBC urges caution on Gaza casualty figures

( A report from the BBC’s head of statistics urges caution on using Gaza casualty figures from Palestinian sources, saying that the “conclusions being drawn from them may be premature” due to the high ratio of combat-aged men being killed.

A BBC report urges caution on using Gaza casualty figures. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

A BBC report urges caution on using Gaza casualty figures. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

According to the BBC, most news organizations have been using casualty figures provided by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which most recently reported that 1,843 Palestinians, 66 Israelis and one Thai national had been killed since Operation Protective Edge began on July 8th.

“Of those Palestinians, the status of 279 could not be identified, at least 1,354 were civilians, including 415 children and 214 women, the UN body reported,” the BBC said.

However, the BBC said that among the civilian deaths, there are “more than three times as many men killed as women, while three times as many civilian men killed as fighters.”

It is impossible to know for sure “how many of the dead in Gaza are civilians and how many were fighters.”

At the same time, the New York Times also reported on the high ratio of men killed, noting that they tend to be the age of those who are likely to be militants.

"The population most likely to be militants, men ages 20 to 29, is also the most overrepresented in the death toll. They are 9 percent of Gaza's 1.7 million residents, but 34 percent of those killed whose ages were provided."

Figures published by Al-Jazeera also found that men aged between 20 and 29 are also significantly overrepresented.

IDF Spokesman Capt. Eytan Buchman told BBC that the U.N. numbers are “based on the Gaza health ministry reports, which is run by Hamas” and that "when militants are brought to hospitals, they are brought in civilian clothing, obscuring terrorist affiliations".

Posted on August 10, 2014 .