The Israel Defense Forces spokesperson who on Monday told CNN that killing two Palestinian civilians for every Hamas militant in Gaza would be a “tremendously positive ratio” on Tuesday said the IDF had not confirmed those numbers were accurate.
Jonathan Conricus, the spokesperson, said he had only meant to say he had seen a news report attributing those numbers to an unnamed Israeli official. “I confirmed that I saw the report. I didn’t confirm the numbers yet,” he told CNN.
The AFP news agency, citing a briefing for foreign media by senior Israeli military officials, reported Monday that the Israeli military believes about two civilians have been killed in Gaza for each Hamas militant.
AFP reported that the Israeli military official, when asked to confirm reports that around 5,000 Hamas militants had been killed, replied: “The numbers are more or less right.”
Nearly 16,000 people have been killed in Gaza since October 7, according to figures from the Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza.
Conricus said the IDF wants to get accurate numbers of civilians and combatants killed, adding that he thought the number would be known before the end of the war.
And he said the Israeli military was talking about active combatants when it counted how many Hamas fighters it killed: “Our definition is combatants, people who are fighting,” he said.
He repeated Israel’s regular assertion that the IDF was aiming to kill “as low as possible a number of civilians” and blamed Hamas for using people as human shields.
He insisted again that a ratio of two civilians killed per combatant was better than seen in urban combat in places like Raqqa and Deir Ezzor in Syria, but added, “Every loss of life is sad, I should have chosen my words more carefully.”