Lloyd Austin Says Israel Has Killed Over 25,000 Women and Children in Gaza

He also said the US has provided 21,000 munitions to support the slaughter since October 7

Update: The Pentagon walked back Austin’s comments, claiming he was referring to total Palestinian deaths based on numbers from Gaza’s Health Ministry, not just women and children.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Thursday that Israel has killed over 25,000 Palestinian women and children in Gaza since October 7.

When asked how many women and children have been killed during a House Armed Services Committee, Austin replied, “It’s over 25,000.”

The number is higher than the estimate that’s been put out by Gaza’s Health Ministry. The ministry said on Thursday that over 30,000 have been killed so far and has consistently said about 70% of the casualties are women and children, which puts the women and child death toll around 21,000.

Gaza’s Health Ministry does not account for the thousands of civilians who are missing and presumed to be dead under the rubble or for Palestinians who may have been buried instead of being sent to a hospital or morgue. The breakdown of communications in the Gaza Strip has also impeded the Health Ministry’s ability to keep a count.

In October, President Biden accused the Palestinians of lying about the death toll when confronted about civilian casualties. “I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed,” Biden said.

But a few weeks later, Barbara Leaf, assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, acknowledged Gaza’s Health Ministry has always been reliable and said the true death toll is likely higher than what they’re reporting. Israeli media reports have also said that Israeli military officials believe the Health Ministry’s numbers are close to accurate.

Austin, a former Raytheon board member, also said the US had provided Israel with 21,000 munitions since October 7 to support the massacre, which does not include the American-provided bombs Israel was already armed with, as it receives $3.8 billion in military aid from the US each year.

Despite the massive civilian casualty rate and the International Court of Justice ruling that it’s “plausible” Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, the US continues to provide unconditional military support and political cover.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.