FACT CHECK: NBC News Claims 28,000 Palestinian Civilians Reportedly Killed In Israel-Hamas War

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

NBC News reported that 28,000 Palestinian civilians have reportedly been killed in the Israeli-Hamas war.

Verdict: Misleading

The number, which is from the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health, does not distinguish between combatants and civilians. NBC News later corrected its article to note this.

Fact Check:

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) launched an operation in Rafah that rescued two hostages, according to the Washington Post. The Gaza Ministry of Health said that 67 Palestinians, of which some were women and children, died in the operation, the outlet reported.

NBC News reported Feb. 12 that “Biden has grown steadily more frustrated with the rising Palestinian civilian death toll in Gazanow a reported 28,000 — and Netanyahu’s reluctance to pursue a long-term peace agreement.” (Emphasis added by Check Your Fact.)

However, the 28,000 number is not about the civilian death toll, but the overall amount of deaths in Gaza. The Associated Press explained in a Nov. 6, 2023 article that the “ministry never distinguishes between civilians and combatants.”

“The ministry never distinguishes between civilians and combatants. That becomes clearer after the dust settles, when the U.N. and rights groups investigate and militant groups offer a tally of members killed. The Israeli military also conducts post-war investigations,” the Associated Press reported.

NPR also notes that “the health ministry doesn’t differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths” in a Dec. 22, 2023 article. The Gaza Ministry of Health has claimed that 70% of those killed are women and children under the age of 18, according to Reuters.

“We’ve killed or wounded around 20,000 Hamas terrorists; out of that, 12,000 fighters,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during an interview on ABC News: Sunday. Israel says it has killed 10,000 Hamas terrorists, according to the Associated Press.

David Rohde, NBC News’ national security editor, told Check Your Fact in an email that the error “was added during the editing process” and that the authors of the article did not make the mistake. The outlet issued a correction Feb. 13. (RELATED: Houthi Rebels Claim To Hit U.S. Warship In Red Sea)

“A previous version of this article mischaracterized the death toll in Gaza since the Oct. 7 attack. More than 28,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the war began, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The toll includes all people killed in Gaza, including Hamas members, not just civilians,” the correction reads.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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