48% of Gaza war casualties associated with terror groups – intel report

Written by on June 22, 2021

At least 48% of the Palestinians killed during the May 10-21 Gaza conflict were associated with terrorist groups, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reported Tuesday.

In a copy of the report first obtained by The Jerusalem Post, the intelligence center broke down the more than 200 Palestinians killed according to their affiliation with terrorist groups, identified those killed by Palestinian misfires and listed civilian deaths.

The center is viewed as one of the most serious think tanks in Israel since it is staffed with former high-ranking officers and officials from Israel’s three intelligence services.

Though it also sometimes receives classified information from the intelligence services, it is not formally connected to the government or the IDF and reaches its conclusions independently without coordination with official bodies.

In the report, the center recognized that there are different estimates about the number of dead Palestinians, ranging between 240 and 260, and it used the number 234.

According to the report, some 112 of the 234 were associated with Hamas, Islamic Jihad or another terrorist group.

Breaking down the 112, there were 63 associated with Hamas, 20 with Islamic Jihad, 25 with a terrorist wing of Fatah and a few others with smaller splinter groups.

The report speculated that beyond the 112, another 11 men between the ages of 17 and 40 might have been associated with terrorist groups given the circumstances of their deaths. But there was no conclusive information to prove this.

Next, the report noted that at least five of those killed while fighting the IDF on behalf of terrorist groups were using dual identities; they supposedly were only part of internal police forces.

According to the intelligence center, this proved once again that Hamas and Islamic Jihad mix their fighters with internal police forces as well as other dual-identity officials.

Of the Palestinians who were killed, the report said 52 were children, 38 were women, and five were over the age of 70.

Without diminishing the tragedy of the deaths of these individuals, the report said many of them were family members of terrorists.

Others lived in such close proximity to terrorist locations that they likely died from the collateral impact of attacks on those terrorist locations, though they themselves were not targeted, the report said.

The most infamous case of an IDF attack leading to the unintentional deaths of a large number of Palestinian civilians was when as many as 42 Palestinians were killed when a nearby portion of the tunnel network on al-Wahda Street in Gaza City was targeted.

The IDF attack was exact and did not directly harm the Palestinian civilians’ homes. But the military underestimated the impact on the tunnel network. When the targeted tunnel area collapsed, it also caused the collapse of the nearby tunnels, which caused the houses to implode on the civilians inside.

The report quoted an interview by Hamas’s leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, on June 5 in which he admitted that Hamas systematically mixed its fighting forces and weapons with civilians and civilian locations.

In addition, 21 Palestinians died from misfired terrorist rockets intended to strike Israel, the report said.

Five Palestinian civilians died from causes not connected directly either to the IDF or to Palestinian misfires.

A significant amount of the analysis by the Meir Amit Center comes from Hamas and Islamic Jihad publicizing their connection to specific “martyrs” on social media. Additional information was garnered from media and other sources.

The report lists each killed Palestinian, when they were killed, the circumstances and generally provides accompanying photos.

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