Israeli officials say the original death toll of 1,400 included unidentified corpses now believed to be Hamas fighters.
Israel has revised downwards the death toll from an attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on October 7, to approximately 1,200 people against a previous government estimate of 1,400.
“Around 1,200 is the official number of victims of the October 7 massacre,” spokesperson Lior Haiat of Israel’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday in a written statement, according to the Reuters news agency.
The figure had been updated on Thursday, he said.
According to Haiat, the number was revised since unidentified corpses previously included in the tally likely belong to Palestinian fighters, the AFP news agency said.
“This is the updated number,” Haiat told AFP. “It is due to the fact that there were a lot of corpses that were not identified and now we think those belong to terrorists … not Israeli casualties.”
In a statement criticising a UNESCO resolution on Friday, Haiat posted on X that Hamas had killed “about 1,200 people” in the attack.
Israel rejects with disgust the one-sided resolution taken by UNESCO today regarding the situation in Gaza.
The resolution totally ignores the October 7 massacre by Hamas terrorists, who brutally murdered about 1200 people in cold blood, and kidnapped 240 including babies,… pic.twitter.com/nklsjK5IFp
— Lior Haiat 🇮🇱 (@LiorHaiat) November 10, 2023
The updated figure comes more than one month after Palestinian gunmen carried out an attack on towns, kibbutzim, and military bases in southern Israel. It included the killing of Israeli civilians, including women and children, in residential areas and at a music festival.
Israeli authorities also say that Palestinian groups also took more than 240 people captive during the attack, including Israeli soldiers and civilians as well as people from numerous foreign countries.
Israel has responded by cutting off access to food, electricity, and fuel for the more than 2.3 million residents of the Gaza Strip and has pounded the area with a relentless bombing campaign.
Non-stop Israeli air raids have levelled entire neighbourhoods, displaced more than 70 percent of Gaza’s inhabitants, and killed 11,078 people, according to Palestinian authorities.
The United Nations has said that Israel’s attacks on Gaza amount to collective punishment of a population with few options for seeking safe haven, and humanitarian conditions in the strip have grown increasingly dire.