Identifying Palestinians Killed in Gaza*

By The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 @ 11:00PM

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Examination of the names of Palestinians killed in Operation Protective Edge – Part Ten**

Below Left: Mohammad Jumaa Ahmad Shaath as an officer in one of Hamas’s security apparatus in Gaza (moidev.moi.gov.ps) Below Right: Mohammad Jumaa Ahmad Shaath, Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operative, killed in Operation Protective Edge (facebook.com). A Hamas official recently admitted (in an interview with Associated Press) that Hamas lost 400 operatives in the operation. In the ITIC’s assessment, this is a minimalistic figure. According to an Israeli security source, approximately 590 Hamas operatives were killed in Operation Protective Edge, constituting nearly 67% of the terrorist operatives who were killed.

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The findings to date

1.  This document is the tenth in a series of publications of the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC), examining the names of the Palestinians killed in Operation Protective Edge. The project’s goal is to determine which of the fatalities were affiliated with terrorist organizations and which were non-involved citizens, and to examine the ratio between them. The findings of our investigation so far (based on an examination of approximately 61% of the names of the dead) suggest that fatalities affiliated with terrorist organizations constitute approximately 48.7% of the names that have been identified, and non-involved civilians constitute approximately 51.3%. This ratio may vary in the future.

2.  Weighting the findings of the current examination and the findings of the previous examinations, detailed in the ITIC’s previous documents, indicates the following distribution of the 1,314 fatalities examined to date:

A.  553 of those killed were affiliated with terrorist organizations.

B.  583 of those killed were non-involved civilians.

C.  178 of those killed (approximately 13.5% of all the names that have been examined) are unidentified at this stage. Therefore, it is not possible to determine whether they were affiliated with terrorist organizations or non-involved civilians.

Methodological notes regarding the current examination

3.   The current document examined 150 additional names of Palestinians killed in Operation Protective Edge, based on the supplementary list published in the Hamas newspaper Felesteen. One name on the list was a duplicate name (it already appeared on Dr. Al-Qudra’s list); therefore, 149 names were examined.  Most of the names examined in the current list are of Palestinians killed between July 28 and July 29, 2014.

4.   Until the current examination, the ITIC examined the names of 1,165 fatalities, constituting approximately 54% of the total number of those killed, which is 2,157 (according to reports issued by the Palestinian Ministry of Health, updated to September 14, 2014).[1] Together with the current examination, the number of names examined by the ITIC totals 1,314, constituting approximately 61% of the total number of Palestinians killed in Operation Protective Edge.

The findings of the current examination

5.   An examination of an additional 150 names of fatalities that appeared in the Hamas-affiliated newspaper Felesteen (see Appendix C) yielded the following findings:

A.  25 names of those killed were identified as affiliated with terrorist organizations (photos of 11 terror operativeswere found).

B.  103 names of those killed were identified as non-involved civilians.

C.  The identity of 21 of those killed is unknown.

D.  One name of a non-involved civilian was identified by the ITIC as a duplicate name (it previously appeared on Dr. Al-Qudra’s lists).

6.   Below is a breakdown of the organizational affiliation of the 25 fatalities identified by the ITIC as having been involved in terrorism: 

A.  10 Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operatives

B.  3 Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operatives who served concurrently as operatives in the Hamas-controlled security apparatus

C.  1 operative in Hamas-controlled security apparatus

D.  5 activists in the Hamas social system (da’wah), which supports Hamas’s military and political systems

E.  3 operatives affiliated with the global jihad

F.  1 Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) operative

G.  2 men suspected of involvement in terrorism whose organizational affiliation is currently unknown

7.   Of the 128 fatalities identified in the current examination, 25 were affiliated with terrorist organizations, representing approximately 20% of the fatalities who were identified. 103 were identified as non-involved civilians, representing approximately 80%. The identity of 21 additional fatalities is unknown at this stage.

Hamas has begun to provide the media with data about the total number of its operatives who were killed in Operation Protective Edge

8.   According to a recent Associated Press report (February 13, 2015), a “Hamas official” said that Hamas lost 400 fighters in Operation Protective Edge. According to a claim by Hamas (designed for propaganda purposes), this figure includes many operatives killed in the combat zones against Israel and a smaller number killed in Israeli airstrikes against terrorists’ homes.

9.   So far, Hamas has refrained from specifying the number of its fatalities in Operation Protective Edge, as part of its policy of concealment, which serves its propaganda, political and lawfare campaign against Israel.In the ITIC’s assessment, the number of fatalities cited by Hamas (400) is still minimalistic and the actual number is higher by around 200 operatives. An examination conducted by an Israeli security source found that 590 Hamas operatives were killed in Operation Protective Edge, representing nearly 66.6% of the terrorist operatives killed (according to the findings of the security source, at least 886 of those killed in Operation Protective Edge were identified as terrorist operatives).

10.   This pattern of concealing the real number of Hamas fatalities and revealing it to the media long after the end of the operation, when Hamas believes that the circumstances are ripe, is recurring. After Operation Cast Lead, Hamas maintained a policy of concealing the real number of those killed in the war in order to instill the false message that Israel carried out mass killings of civilians in the Gaza Strip (the “holocaust” of the Gaza Strip, as claimed by Hamas’s propaganda machine at the time). Only some two years after Operation Cast Lead did Fathi Hamad, former interior minister in the Hamas government, admit that 700 operatives of Hamas’s military-security apparatus were killed in the operation. The real figure, which Fathi Hamad admitted some two years after the war, matched the findings of the examination carried out by Israel after Operation Cast Lead.[2]

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Fathi Hamad, former interior minister in the Hamas government, who revealed the real number of fatalities suffered by Hamas and the other terrorist organizations some two years after Operation Cast Lead (Felesteen, November 1, 2010, archive photo)

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*This article was originally posted on The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center on February 23, 2015.

** Further to the ITIC Information Bulletin from February 12, 2015: “Examination of the Names of 17 Journalists and Media Personnel Whom the Palestinians Claim Were Killed in Operation Protective Edge (Part Nine).”

[1] A statement by Ismail al-Ashqar, a member of Hamas’s political bureau (February 18, 2015) claimed that the number of fatalities exceeded 2,200 (Al-Resalah Net, February 11, 2015).

[2]For details, see the ITIC information bulletin from August 10, 2014: “War of the Casualties: Even during Operation Cast Lead, Hamas adopted a policy of concealing information about its operatives killed by the IDF. Actual data on the extent of the losses was published only two years after the operation, after the false information that Israel carried out mass killings of civilians in Gaza pervaded world public opinion and after the Goldstone Report.”

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