TEL-AVIV, December 7. /TASS/. Two civilians are killed for every Hamas militant killed by the Israeli military during fierce battles in densely populated urban areas in the Gaza Strip, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), said. Speaking on a program broadcast by Germany’s Deutsche Welle (deemed a foreign agent media outlet by Russia), he stated that the IDF’s civilian-to-combatant kill ratio was much lower than NATO’s usual rate of so-called "collateral damage" of 9 civilians killed to 1 fighter killed, or even 15 to 1 in some cases.
Conricus was asked to comment on his statement that the IDF’s 2-to-1 ratio of civilian casualties to combatants killed in the Gaza Strip was "extremely positive."
"Yes, those were not very appropriate words. They were also taken out of context. But, of course, I subscribe to what I said earlier," he replied. "For you to understand: During battles in urban areas, including those in which German troops took part in Afghanistan and those of NATO forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in Syria and elsewhere, usually the ratio is between 1 to 9 and 1 to 15. That is 1 enemy combatant [killed] to 15 or 9 civilians [killed]," he explained.
"This is a ratio that is not applied by Israeli forces. Western forces, NATO forces use it when they confront similar opponents, but perhaps in slightly less difficult conditions than those in which we have to fight, because [in the Gaza Strip] there is a vast network of tunnels," the IDF spokesman added.
"This is the context of my comment, which should have been phrased differently. I should have said that the death of every civilian during the fighting is sad. It is not the purpose of the operation. But if - and I said ‘if’ - the ratio is 1 to 2, then it is acceptably positive in the context of fighting in urban areas. This doesn't mean, of course, that we want to kill civilians. We are keen to minimize this number, but if you compare the rate to that of other armed forces that are fighting in urban environments, it is an acceptably positive ratio," he concluded.
Tensions flared up again in the Middle East on October 7 when militants from the radical Palestinian group Hamas staged a surprise attack on Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip and took 200 hostages. Hamas described its operation as a response to the aggressive actions of Israeli authorities against the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. Israel has declared a total blockade of the Gaza Strip and carried out air strikes on the Palestinian enclave, as well as some areas of Lebanon and Syria. Clashes are also underway in the West Bank.