President Biden denied the accuracy of casualty numbers provided by the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry on Wednesday.
Biden made the comments in response to questions from reporters during a join press conference with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Biden says he has ‘no confidence’ in the ministry’s claim that 6,546 Palestinians have been killed and 17,439 have been wounded since Oct. 7.
A reporter asked whether Hamas’ statistics suggest that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is ignoring U.S. calls to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza.
‘What they say to me is that I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed,’ Biden responded. ‘I’m sure innocents have been killed, and it’s a price of waging a war.’
‘I think we should be incredibly careful – not we – the Israelis should be incredibly careful to be sure that they’re focusing on going after the folks that are propagating this war against Israel. It’s against their interests when that doesn’t happen, but I have no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using,’ he added.
Biden’s statement comes as Israel has been poised for a ground invasion of Gaza for more than a week. Israel and Hamas have spent the past 19 days exchange thousands of rockets, missiles and artillery barrages.
Israel says at least 1,400 people, including foreigners, were killed in Hamas’ surprise October 7 attack.
Biden offered his full support for Israel to root out Hamas terrorists from Gaza. He went say the war must end with a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians, adding that there is ‘no going back.’