Israel says has evidence 47 percent of Gaza dead were combatants

JERUSALEM Sat Aug 2, 2014 12:04pm EDT

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel has evidence that almost half of Palestinians killed in the 25-day-old Gaza war were combatants, its deputy foreign minister said on Saturday, pushing back against international allegations of a lopsidedly heavy civilian death toll.

Gazan human rights groups say at least 80 percent of the 1,669 Palestinians killed have been non-combatants, including hundreds of children. The U.N. Human Rights Council last week accused the Israelis of "disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks" and launched an inquiry into possible war crimes.

Israel, which has lost 63 soldiers and 3 civilians to the fighting, says it has done everything possible to avoid harming innocents and that Gaza's dominant Hamas Islamists invite such casualties by operating in densely populated areas.

"There is research being done in the military, very professionally and reliably, (whose) conclusion is that at least 47% of the fatalities are terrorists, with photographs and names," Tzachi Hanegbi told Israel's Channel Two television, adding that the data would be presented to investigators.

He did not elaborate. Israel rejected the U.N. Human Rights Council's probe announcement, describing the forum as biased, but usually conducts its own combat inquiries.

Israel says Hamas and other Palestinian guerrillas in Gaza are terrorists and in past conflicts has used broad definitions of combatants - including, for example, Palestinian policemen working for the Hamas administration.

(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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Comments (23)
Orwelian84 wrote:
Better headline, “Israeli evidence shows only 53% percent of Gaza dead were non-combatants”

Aug 02, 2014 12:28am EDT  --  Report as abuse
siaripop wrote:
Regardless where terrorists are engaging forces opposing them, they make a point to remove as many bodies as possible so the number of dead can’t be verified and shown on any media. It makes it easier to tell there fighters a lie or two. Although I have issues with Israel also, Hamas has yet to video their dead, dying, or injured fighters; nor state the numbers. Meanwhile their citizens/civilians are always on camera. That aside; I tend to believe that Hamas did not authorize the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teens. Hamas has a difficult time controlling the other organizations within Gaza and it could very well have been a rogue operation; just like the killing of the Palestinian boy by a “Far Right” group of Israeli’s!

Aug 02, 2014 12:48am EDT  --  Report as abuse
samuaa wrote:
best headline-
israel caught lying 47% of the time.
or Israel commits more war crimes.
or Israel thinks genocide is permissible.

Aug 02, 2014 12:58am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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