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Besieged: Which was worse, Gaza or Mosul?

A lot of us have wondered about the casualty rate of civilians in the Gaza Strip after the Hamas slaughter of innocent Jewish people on October 7. The numbers of dead increased so rapidly and a large proportion of them were innocent women and children. We asked ourselves how Hamas was counting the bodies. It now appears that all their numbers were fake! It has taken six months for Western news reporters to wake up to this important fact. It is quite incredible how all the major news networks failed to notice what even casual readers of world events were thinking as they looked at these numbers.

In the Ukraine War, you have Russian estimates of casualties, Ukrainian estimates and even US and UK estimates of casualties. No one believes the Russian estimates just like they shouldn’t believe Hamas’ numbers of deaths. Hamas manipulates these figures to make them sound even more horrendous that they actually are. Israel estimates it has killed 12,000 Hamas fighters. This must come from their forces on the ground. They bomb a building with Hamas fighters and then add up the numbers of dead combatants and send in the numbers to a central authority. In this way they can determine how many more combatants they will need to kill to win the war.

A new analysis of the figures by Abraham Wyner, a professor of statistics and data science, at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has identified a number of glaring incongruities in the daily casualty data released by Hamas. The most remarkable of these is the “almost metronomical linearity” in the daily reports, which averaged 270 deaths per day plus or minus 15% through a16-day sample. For this trend to be accurate, the Israelis would have to kill a near-identical number of Gazans each day for over two weeks. He concluded that “the Gaza ministry is releasing fake daily numbers that vary too little because they do not have a clear understanding of the behaviour of naturally occurring numbers.” According to the professor, these figures don’t reflect battlefield losses in similar situations like the battles for Mosul and Raaqa. The numbers should be high some days and low the next.

Remember the Battle of Mosul back in 2016/17 when the Iraqi Government forces, the Peshmerga Kurds and their allies including the US struggled to take back the city from the Islamic State. This was the largest land battle since the capture of Baghdad in 2003. Iraqi Special Operations Forces entered the city in November 2016 and met with fierce fighting which was slowed by ISIL defences and the strong numbers of civilians living there (population of 1.5 million). It was estimated that there were 20,000 ISIL fighters in the city before the conflict while the Iraqi led coalition numbered some 100,000 including forces from 60 nations (US, France, Australia, Canada, etc.). The civilian loss of life after some six months of battle was estimated to be around 8,000 as published in the Telegraph in May 2017 while the Iraqi commanders estimated the number of ISIL fighters killed to be anywhere between 11,000 and 25,000. The percentage of civilian deaths would then be somewhere between 24% to 44%.


Another thing that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny in the Hamas figures is the percentage of women and children. The Gaza ministry assigned 70% of these deaths to women and children which is not possible in this kind of urban warfare. A good result for the deaths of fighters to civilians would be a 1:1 ratio and this would be considered a very successful operation. So the Hamas figure of some 33,000 deaths is a lie. It is far more likely that some 12,000 male combatants and sympathizers (including UNWRA and logistical support people). We forget about all the support staff that are needed to feed Hamas fighters, carry their munitions, guard Israeli prisoners in tunnels, etc. A large number of these people have been killed when bombs explode and buildings collapse. They are not civilians in any sense of the term and they may end up being counted as civilians. Based on the experience in Mosul, a good estimate of civilian casualties might be around 8,000 civilians.

It is sad that Western media organizations and even President Biden today still give credence to the same fake numbers without ever questioning the source, and this has been going on for six months. Clearly, journalists love to cite percentages or figures in their press releases. A story without a dollar figure, a number of deaths or a percentage that shocks is not a news story. Impressions or editorial comments just don’t carry the same weight in the breaking-news racket. 

No wonder Hamas is winning the PR war with their absurd genocide claims. Compared to similar modern battles in Iraq, the attack on Gaza seems to be about the same in terms of loss of life.