JERUSALEM (JTA) — Some 25 percent of Palestinians killed in Operation Cast Lead were civilians, the IDF said.
The Research Department of the Israel Defense Intelligence identified 1,166 Palestinians killed during Israel’s three-week military operation in Gaza. Of them, 709 were identified as operatives of Hamas or other terrorist groups and 295 were identified as "uninvolved Palestinians." The IDF said another 162 had not yet been conclusively identified one way or the other. Of the "uninvolved Palestinians" killed, 89 were under the age of 16 and 49 were women.
The figures were gathered following the examination of various intelligence sources and were cross-referenced, the IDF said
Palestinian officials claim that 1,417 people were killed, including more than 900 civilians.
"The IDF wishes to emphasize that its objective during Operation Cast Lead was to target the Hamas terror organization and not the citizens of the Gaza Strip," the IDF spokesman’s office said. "It must be stressed that the fighting took place in a complex battlefield, defined by the Hamas terror organization itself. The Hamas terror organization placed the primary fighting scene at the heart of civilian neighborhoods as it booby-trapped homes, fired from schools, and used civilians as human shields."