IDF Artillery Corps fire into Gaza during Operation Guardian of the Walls in May 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90) Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90
IDF Artillery Corps

An analysis of the names of the 234 Gazans killed in the airstrikes shows that at least 112 of them, 48%, belonged to terrorist organizations, a combatant vs. civilian ratio of 1:1.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

An analysis of the names of Gazans killed during the IDF’s Operation Guardian of the Walls has found that about half of them were terrorist operatives, a new report by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) shows.

During the 11 days of Operation Guardian of the Walls against the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip, the terrorist organizations in Gaza launched some 4,360 rockets at Israeli cities and towns in an attempt to harm as many civilians as possible.

Twelve Israelis, two of them children, were killed by the rockets, and one IDF soldier was killed by an anti-tank missile.

680 of the rockets fired by the terrorists fell inside the Strip, killing at least 21 people, including two women, nine children, and 10 men, of whom one was a Hamas operative, one an Islamic Jihad (PIJ) operative, and one a Fatah member.

During the operation, the IDF attacked about 1,500 terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip, the overwhelming majority with precision munitions.

An analysis of the names of the 234 Gazans killed in the airstrikes shows that at least 112 of them, 48%, belonged to terrorist organizations, a combatant vs. civilian ratio of 1:1.

The UN estimates that there has been an average three-to-one ratio of civilian to combatant deaths in such conflicts, meaning that three civilians were killed for every combatant killed. This is the estimated ratio in Afghanistan. In Iraq and Kosovo, it was worse: the ratio is believed to be four-to-one.

Of the terrorists killed, most to them were from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad: 63 belonged to Hamas, 20 to the PIJ, 25 to Fatah, two to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), one to the Mujahedeen Brigades, and one to the Popular Resistance Committees.

Eleven of them were killed during IDF attacks on terrorist targets but the ITIC has no information linking them to terrorist organizations. One of them was a driver for a terrorist squad, but not a member of a terror group.

At least five were Hamas operatives who were also members of the terror group’s security forces, including the police, naval police or internal security forces. It has often been found that operatives of Hamas’ military-terrorist wing were also members of its security forces.

Of the Gazans killed by IDF attacks who had no affiliation to a terrorist organization, 52 were children, 38 were women and five were 70 or older.

Many of the Gazans who were killed as a result of IDF attacks and are not identified as affiliated with terror organizations were killed because they were in proximity to terrorist operatives or targets during an attack, the result of Hamas’ situating its terrorist installations near or under civilian structures.

One prominent example was the collapse of two buildings under which Hamas had built one of its terrorist tunnels following an extensive IAF attack on Hamas’ so-called “Metro” underground city.

One death was reported when an IDF tank opened fire to chase Arabs away from the border. It is unclear who was killed in this incident.

The deaths of another four Gazans were reported without their ages, so it is unclear if they were combatants or not.

Yahya Sinwar, head of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, admitted in an interview with Al-Jazeera earlier this month that the organization’s military positions were located within the civilian population, confessing it was a “problem.”

How many Gazan civilians were actually killed?

As for the number of fatalities, there are several Palestinian versions of the overall number of Gazans killed during the hostilities.

According to the latest update from the Hamas-run Ministry of Health issued on June 3, 256 people were killed and 1,948 were wounded.

According to WAFA, the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency, 257 people were killed.

According to the al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, a Hamas-affiliated NGO operating in the Gaza Strip, 248 people were killed, including 66 children and 39 women.

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, 247 people were killed.

Sinwar told Al-Jazeera that 90 operatives were killed.

The ITIC’s detailed analysis of the information resulted in a list of 260 names of Gazans killed.

Of the total number, 153 were men, including the 10 killed by the rocket misfires, 41 were women, and 62 were children under the age of 16, nine of whom were killed by rocket misfires.

The ages of four on the list could not be verified.

As in previous operations, and this time to a greater degree, the ministry of health in Gaza and the terrorist organizations provided only scanty information about terrorist operatives who were killed, the ITIC noted.

Exceptions were the high-ranking operatives, whose deaths were formally announced by their organizations.

“The Hamas administration has been trying to create the impression that the overwhelming majority of fatalities were non-combatant civilians. The ministry of health in Gaza stressed the number of women, children and aged, as opposed to its past policy of publishing detailed lists of the names of all those killed,” the ITIC said in its report.

The ITIC further pointed out that social media and official media outlets have also represented a significant percentage of terrorists as “civilians,” for the same reason, “to promote the narrative that most of the fatalities were non-combatants.”