Guardian grossly undercounts Hamas death toll

Three times in as many days, the Guardian has claimed that only between 1,000 and 2,000 Hamas fighters have been killed since Oct. 7.

A Guardian analysis by Dan Sabbagh (“IDF messaging suggests Gaza truce unlikely to last much beyond Tuesday”, Nov. 26) included the following:

Israel’s military estimates that during the assault on Gaza it has killed between 1,000 and 2,000 Hamas fighters out of a military force it believes is about 30,000 strong.

No source was provided to back up his claim.

An op-ed by Owen Jones (“Who will shine a light on the atrocities in Gaza if all the journalists are wiped out?”, Nov. 29) echoed that claim:

With Israel claiming it has only killed between 1,000 and 2,000 Hamas fighters, the indiscriminate nature of its offensive cannot be credibly disputed.

The ‘source’ he cites is the un-sourced Guardian article by Sabbagh we cited above.

Today, the Guardian published an editorial (“The Guardian view on the Gaza ceasefire: this glimmer of hope needs to be sustained”, Nov. 29)

The Israel Defense Forces estimate that they have killed between 1,000 and 2,000 Hamas fighters in the assault on Gaza. That is a fraction of its 30,000 or so total, and a tiny number set beside the total Palestinian death toll of about 15,000…

As with Jones, the Guardian’s ‘source’ – per the link embedded in the sentence – is Dan Sabbagh’s unsourced claim.

However, other media outlets – citing top Israeli military officials – have reported the Hamas death toll at or over 5,000.

A Financial Times article on Nov. 23 by the outlet’s Jerusalem correspondent included the following:

Israeli officials estimate that 5,000 of Hamas’s roughly 25,000 fighters have now been killed. “It’s not 10,000, but it’s not 1,000. It’s something in the middle,” the senior military official said.

An article in Yedioth Ahronoth (Hebrew) on Nov. 29, again citing Israeli military officials, placed the Hamas death toll at 5,300.

Even Haaretz’s Gideon Levy wrote, in his column today, that, according to the IDF, “5,000 Hamas combatants” have been killed.

We’ve reached out to Guardian editors asking them correct the three articles which include the erroneous Hamas fatality count.

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