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War on Gaza: Fighting has 'disabled' 12,500 Israeli soldiers, estimates show

Yediot Ahronoth finds defence ministry's assessment of total wounded soldiers is much higher than published figures
Israeli soldiers carry wounded man near Gaza
Israeli soldiers take a wounded man to a military helicopter near the Gaza border on 12 December 2023 (Reuters/Avi Roccah)

At least 12,500 Israeli soldiers are predicted to be recognised as “disabled” due to the fighting in Gaza, Israeli outlet Yediot Ahronoth reported on Friday.

The "gloomy forecast", as it described, was presented by a company hired by Israel's defence ministry to conduct an assessment of injuries among troops. 

The 12,500 figure is a conservative and cautious estimate. The number of cases requesting disability recognition could reach 20,000, the report said. 

The defence ministry's rehabilitation department is currently treating 60,000 disabled Israeli soldiers. 

At least 5,000 have been admitted to the department in 2023, including 3,400 admitted since 7 October. These figures include only soldiers, and not civilians. 

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Yediot Ahronoth said these numbers, along with other official data, show that the injury tally provided by the army during the war has some discrepancies.

As of late December, the defence ministry said the number of Israeli soldiers injured since 7 October had reached 3,000, with the Israeli army saying over 2,300 have been disabled. 

The Israeli army’s reported injury tally has previously been questioned, as numbers from hospitals far surpass those the army is publishing.

The addition of thousands more soldiers into rehabilitation services could present financial and logistical challenges to the already criticised programme for disabled soldiers, Yediot Ahronoth says. 

The report warns that Israel may be facing new cases similar to that of Itzik Saidian, an Israeli soldier who participated in the 2014 Gaza war and set himself on fire in 2021 outside the defence ministry’s rehabilitation offices, after feeling “humiliated during every contact” with the ministry.

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