File photo: A convoy of Israeli army vehicles manoeuvres near Israel s border after leaving Gaza, southern Israel, on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. AP
Haaretz quoted the Israeli army as saying that 1,000 soldiers have been injured since the start of the Israeli war on Gaza, of whom 202 were critically injured, 320 moderately injured and 470 mildly injured.
In his daily report on November 23, a day before a four-day-truce between Israel and Hamas went into effect, the Israeli army spokesperson, Daniel Hagari, released a tally showing that 72 Israeli soldiers had been killed since the start of Israel's ground invasion of Gaza on 27 October, raising the total of soldiers killed since 7 October to 392 soldiers.
However, apart from a few short video clips released by the Israeli army of soldiers evacuating injured comrades, the Israeli army did not report figures for the injured.
In contrast, multiple videos released by the Military Media of Hamas since the start of the ground invasion of Gaza have shown that Israeli tanks, armoured vehicles, and soldiers were taking direct hits from Palestinian fighters on the battlefield on a daily basis, suggesting a high casualty toll among Israelis.
Initially, the Israeli army refused to reveal any details on the number of wounded soldiers when first approached by Haaretz on the matter.
However, immediately before Haaretz readied to publish an independent report on the tally of injured soldiers, the army finally provided the paper with exclusive figures.
In its report, Haaretz said informed medical sources told the paper they had reason to believe injured Israeli soldiers were being deliberately kept "under the radar," adding that they have never dealt with such restrictions during previous wars.
Citing a "seasoned" health official at an Israeli hospital, Haaretz said injured soldiers were given strict orders not to answer any questions from hospital staff. Haaretz added that hospital administrations are prohibited from disclosing information about soldiers without prior approval from the Israeli army spokesman.
The official added: "We hear reports of fierce fighting on the news, and then the wounded start flooding [into the hospitals] but you never hear a word about these casualties in the news."
Moreover, citing a report published on a webpage backlinked to the Israeli health ministry, Haaretz reported that the number of injured settlers and soldiers admitted to Israeli hospitals since 7 October was over 9,000 - with the number of those who succumbed to injuries at around 130.
Citing difficulties in distinguishing between soldiers and settlers among the injured, the Israeli health ministry in the report said it does not know how many soldiers were among those hospitalized.
The Haaretz report charged that the secrecy surrounding the number of casualties in the current war is unprecedented in Israel's military history.
In fact, Hamas has dared Israel to announce the real figures of its killed and injured soldiers in the war.
In various communiques since the start of the ground invasion on 27 October, Hamas charged the government of PM Benjamin Netanyahu with downplaying its casualties in order not to stir Israeli public anger against the war, as has happened in prior conflicts.
Israel has a track record of not reporting real casualty figures during previous wars.