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Gaza deaths likely 'higher than is being cited' - senior US diplomat

November 9, 2023 at 4:41 pm

People mourn next to dead bodies of Palestinians, who lost their lives during the Israeli attacks as they take out the bodies from the Al-Najjar Hospital, to perform funeral prayers in Rafah, Gaza on October 17, 2023 [Abed Rahim Khatib – Anadolu Agency]

Despite shocking totals of over 10,000 Palestinians in Gaza killed since 7 October,  according to the enclave’s Health Ministry, the number is likely to be “higher than are being cited,” according to a senior US diplomat, Anadolu Agency reports.

“In this period of conflict and conditions of war, it is very difficult for any of us to assess what the rate of casualties is,” Barbara Leaf, assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs, said in testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

“We think they’re very high, frankly, and it could be that they’re even higher than are being cited,” she added.

“We’ll know only after the guns fall silent,” Leaf said, adding that the US has sources from a “variety of folks who are on the ground”.

“I can’t stipulate to one figure or another, it’s very possible they’re even higher than is being reported,” she continued.

According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, more than 10,000 civilians have been killed, including over 4,000 children, since the beginning of the 7 October conflict.

President Joe Biden previously said that he is sure Israeli strikes in the besieged Gaza Strip have resulted in civilian casualties, but cast doubt on the official toll from Gaza’s Health Ministry.

The Ministry, in response, released a full list, with names, of Palestinians killed in the ongoing Israeli attacks on the blocked Territory.

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