View Full Version : Israeli Rights Group Says 320 Minors Died In Gaza War

09-09-2009, 10:14 AM
Israeli rights group says 320 minors died in Gaza war


By Agence France-Presse

JERUSALEM — Israel’s Gaza offensive killed 1,387 Palestinians, with more than half of them, including 320 minors, not having taken part in the fighting, an Israeli human rights group said on Wednesday.

B’Tselem said 773 of the Palestinians killed in the December-January offensive “did not take part in the hostilities,” a figure that conflicts with the Israeli army’s insistence that most of the casualties were militants.

B’Tselem said 252 children under the age of 16 and 111 women were among those killed, while the military put the figures at 89 and 49 respectively.

Sixty-eight Palestinians aged 16 to 18 who did not take part in the fighting were among the fatalities, who also included 19 minors in the same age group “who took direct part in the hostilities,” the rights group said.

“The extremely heavy civilian casualties and the massive damage to civilian property require serious introspection on the part of Israeli society,” a B’Tselem statement said, calling on Israel to conduct an “independent and credible” investigation.

It said that 330 of those killed took part in the fighting and 248 were police officers, most of them killed when police stations were bombed on December 28, the first day of the three-week offensive.

The group said that for 36 fatalities, it could not determine whether or not they had participated in hostilities.

The Israeli military, which put the Palestinian death toll at 1,166, includes the police among the 709 “terror operatives” it says were killed in the offensive. The Gaza force has been under the command of Hamas since the Islamist movement seized control of the enclave in June 2007.

B’Tselem said its figures were obtained by researchers who “visited homes and gathered death certificates, photos and testimonies” for all the children killed.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment but had previously stressed that its objective during Operation Cast Lead “was to target the Hamas terror organization and not the citizens of the Gaza Strip.”

Gaza emergency medical services say 1,382 Palestinians were killed in the offensive, 447 of them under the age of 18.

The B’Tselem report said Palestinians killed nine Israelis, including three civilians, while another four soldiers were killed by friendly fire.