IRQ- B'Tselem Gaza Strip Casualties Report
IDF Spokesperson September 9, 2009
IN RESPONSE TO QUERY
Approximately six months ago the IDF publicized official statistics,
gathered and confirmed by the Research Division of the IDF Defense
Intelligence, citing the number of casualties during Operation Cast Lead.
According to these statistics, there were 1,166 Palestinian casualties in
the Gaza Strip, the majority of which (709) were terror operatives
affiliated with the Hamas terror organization, some of whom belonged to
other terror groups.
The "B'Tselem" report is not based on facts or on accurate statistics.
Furthermore, among its sources, B'Tselem officially states that it based its
findings, on cross referencing statistics from investigations of Palestinian
human rights groups and various websites and blogs, including those of the
militant wings of terror organizations and that of the Palestinian Police.
The discrepancy in the numbers is based on the fact that B'Tselem's sources
are organizations with a vested interest, and it does not have the tools,
nor the intelligence capabilities with which it can within a necessary
degree of confidence know the causes of death or the affiliations of these
The Hamas terror organization is hiding these statistics so that it can play
on international public opinion so as to increase support in its violent
acts of terror. For example, the way in which Hamas "police officers" are
categorized in the report, where Hamas is presenting operatives in its
military wing as police officers whose job is to enforce law and order.
This is done in order to minimize the number of casualties amongst its
forces, while inflating the number of civilian casualties.
By shifting public attention to the number of casualties, Hamas is diverting
attention from the real issue, in which this terror organization
specifically and deliberately endangered the lives of the residents in the
Gaza Strip, where on the other hand, as much as was possible, the IDF sought
to prevent the harm of uninvolved noncombatant civilians. It should be
remembered, that the IDF engaged in Operation Cast Lead after a prolonged
period of continuous rocket and mortar fire on hundreds of thousands of
Israeli residents. The firing of these rockets was done from within
population centers in the Gaza Strip, while using the local residents as a
human shield from behind which it would launch its terror attacks.
1. With regards to the categorization of the "police officers," information
can be found that proves their terrorist activities on the website of the
Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center: www.terrorism-info.org.il.
2. An example of the double use of Hamas "police officers" in reports can be
openly seen in a statements made on June 28, in which the Hamas Minister of
the Interior, Hamad Fatahi, and also Haled Mashal himself, admitted that on
the first day alone, 400 or 500 "Hamas warriors" had died. Furthermore, as
Hamas has a policy of withholding information regarding sustained casualties
during the operation, it is possible that the number of terror operatives
who were killed is higher than the IDF's calculations.
3. It should also be stated the Manager of Emergency Services in the
Palestinian Health and Emergency Services Ministry stated that there were
approximately 1400 casualties during Operation Cast Lead. A possible
explanation for this discrepancy is that a number alone was given
unsupported by identifying names, as well as the addition of natural death
cases, which stands at approximately 400 per month in the Gaza Strip,
possibly caused by the confusion at Gaza Strip hospitals during the
4. As was explained to the organization, the IDF is unable to disclose the
methods in which it gathers such information, as it is classified.
IDF SPOX Ann - 260309 - Gaza Strip Casualties
Vast Majority of Palestinians Killed in Operation Cast Lead
Found to be Terror Operatives
Following the publication of reports that introduced false information
originating from various Palestinian sources, and in order to remove any
doubt regarding the number of Palestinians killed in Operation Cast Lead,
the IDF wishes to introduce the accurate figures to the public. The figures
were gathered following the examination of various intelligence sources and
after the names and numbers were thoroughly cross-referenced and examined.
According to the data gathered by the Research Department of the Israel
Defense Intelligence, there were 1166 names of Palestinians killed during
Operation Cast Lead. 709 of them are identified as Hamas terror operatives,
amongst them several from various other terror organizations. Additionally,
there are 162 names of men that have not yet been attributed to any
organization. Furthermore, it has come to our understanding that 295
uninvolved Palestinians were killed during the operation, 89 of them under
the age of 16, and 49 of them were women.
The IDF wishes to emphasize that its objective during Operation Cast Lead
was to target the Hamas terror organization and not the citizens of the Gaza
Strip. It must be stressed that the fighting took place in a complex
battlefield, defined by the Hamas terror organization itself. The Hamas
terror organization placed the primary fighting scene at the heart of
civilian neighborhoods, as it booby-trapped homes, fired from schools, and
used civilians as human shields.
The IDF took extensive measures in order to prevent harming uninvolved
civilians, including the dropping of leaflets, broadcasting warnings in
local Palestinian media, and placing numerous phone calls to homes. The
procedure of making use of warning shots and the briefing of the commanders
to take extra precaution in populated areas were also among the measures
taken by the IDF.