For every Hamas fighter killed in the Gaza Strip, two civilians die, senior Israeli military officers said yesterday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“I can’t say it’s good that we’re outnumbered two to one,” a Chahal officer told reporters, insisting that Hamas uses civilians as human shields and that this is its “core strategy.” The Palestinian Islamist movement denies this.

“We hope that this ratio will be much lower in the next phase of the war,” he added.

The increasingly heavy toll of victims and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza are causing indignation and outcry at the international level.

For its part, the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas rules, emphasizes that the war launched by Israel after October 7 has claimed the lives of at least 16,000 people, 70% of whom were women and children.

According to Israeli authorities, some 1,200 people, most of them civilians, were killed in the attack by Hamas’ military wing on southern areas of Israel on October 7, while another 240 people were abducted and taken to the small Palestinian enclave.

Asked about reports that some 5,000 Hamas fighters have been killed, one of the officers said that “those numbers are more or less accurate.”

The US, Israel’s main international ally, has asked its civil-military leadership to do more to avoid civilian casualties as its operations shift to the south, where much of the north has fled, where the disasters are very extensive.

The Israeli army is using a high-tech mapping system to reduce the civilian death toll, its senior officers have assured.

This system uses cell phone signals, aerial surveillance data and artificial intelligence to keep the map constantly updated, showing population concentrations throughout the Palestinian enclave.

Each of the map’s 623 cells is color-coded, with green indicating zones where at least 75% of the population has moved away.

“In the south, because we’ve practically doubled the population, business is much more accurate,” an officer assured. “We are spending a lot more time to ensure that our efforts (to warn civilians) are effective,” he added.

This map, the fruit of eight years of research, was made available to commanders and units in the field, the Israeli officers added.

However, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) questions the utility of such tools in the Gaza Strip, where access to telecommunications and electricity, when available, is sporadic.