IDF: Only 250 of Gaza fatalities were civilians
Senior military sources say recent findings indicate at least 700 of those
killed in Gaza offensive were gunmen. Palestinians claim only 300 armed men
Hanan Greenberg YNET Published: 01.26.09, 12:38 / Israel News
A continuing IDF investigation into the number of civilian Palestinian
casualties during the Israeli offensive in Gaza indicated that only 250 of
the fatalities were civilians.
The military estimates that between 1,100 and 1,200 people were killed
during the offensive. Some 700 of are believed to be militants and most are
believed to be Hamas operatives.
The IDF is still trying to ascertain the identity of the remaining
fatalities, but security sources said many would probably turn out to be
militants as well. "Hamas is familiar with the numbers and is doing
everything it can to concealed them," said an IDF source.
The data presented by the Palestinian is vastly different: Palestinian
Groups operating in the Strip have reported 92 of the fatalities as gunmen,
48 of whom were affiliated with Hamas, 32 with Islamic Jihad, 10 with the
Popular Resistance Committees' Salah a-Din Brigades and two with the
According to a Palestinian source, the majority of the Palestinian
fatalities were killed in air raids. The Palestinians reported 200 police
officers were killed in the first day of the Gaza shelling, alone.
Hamas claimed that "the Israelis are concealing their losses and lying about
the losses suffered by the Palestinians."
'Ratio of 1:3'
The military is doing everything it can to compile accurate data regarding
the identity of those killed in Gaza, including debriefing soldiers and
cross-referencing their information with intelligence.
Gaza Division Chief Brigadier-General Eyal Eisenberg alluded to the fact
that the majority of the Palestinian fatalities were Hamas operatives, but
refused to specify numbers.
The IDF has yet to verify the identity of some 200 fatalities, mostly men in
their 20s, whose identification is delayed because they are still buried
under the rubble. The defense establishment believed many of them would
prove to be Hamas men.
Many of the fatalities were considered to be civilians at first, because
there were no weapons found with them, said a military source, "But that
method of operation is consistent with the way Hamas was hiding in the midst
of civilians, moving between their strongholds with no weapons. In many
cases someone thought to be a civilian casualty turned out to be a Hamas
operative after we ran our checks."
The civilian-gunman casualty ratio, he added, was one to three, proving that
the IDF was targeting Hamas and not civilians. The IDF stressed that the
forces took significant precautions in order to avoid harming any civilians;
but considering the way that Hamas chose to involve civilians in the
fighting, mounting a surgical strike resulting in absolutely no civilian
casualties was impossible.
Armistice likely to hold
As for the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the defense establishment
believes it is likely to hold; especially given Hamas' failure to boast
about any substantial achievements, like kidnapping a soldier.
"The devastation in Gaza, which is a direct result of the nature of a
battlefield formed by Hamas, is enormous and it's a deterrent factor for
Hamas, which finally realizes the might if the IDF," said a defense
"They don't seem to be interested in violating the ceasefire, but if the do,
they will realize that (Israel) has no intention of reverting back to the
days of a surgical response."
The success of Operation Cast Lead, added the source, has led the military
to begin implementing some of the operational patterns used in the offensive
to other sectors.
Ali Waked contributed to this report