A new report by The Washington Free Beacon reveals how the United Nations has been relying on inflated casualty figures provided by Hamas officials in Gaza.

On May 8, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs dramatically reduced its reported Gaza casualty figures, slashing child fatalities from 14,500 to 7,796 and the number of women killed from 9,500 to 4,959. The UN gave no source for its lower casualty figures in its May 8 update, but the data precisely matched those in a May 2 report from the Hamas-run Ministry of Health.

These revised figures have been met with skepticism from experts and think tanks. An analysis by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) noted that in early April, the Hamas-run Ministry of Health had acknowledged having “incomplete data” to support more than 10,000 of the deaths it had previously claimed, according to the report.

Similarly, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s late March report concluded that the Health Ministry’s data was entirely unreliable, citing the repeated claim that 72% of casualties were women and children – a figure that would require an implausible 90% of media-reported deaths to be accurate. According to their analysis, 58% of Gazans killed since the start of the war were women and children, with the figure dropping to 48% for those killed since November 3.

Hamas’ inflated casualty figures have had significant political consequences, with the Biden administration using them to justify pausing weapon shipments to the Jewish state.

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