(photo credit: REUTERS)
An Israeli defense analysis center on Thursday released the names of 50 Gazan terrorists killed in combat with Israel this summer, whose identities were kept by Hamas from Palestinian casualty lists.
The Tel Aviv-based Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center said all of the combatant casualties were members of Hamas’s military wing, the Izzadin Kassam Brigades.
“The names did not show up on other casualty lists publicized by organizations affiliated with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority,” said the center, which is a part of the Israeli Intelligence and Heritage Commemoration Center, founded by leading members of the Israeli intelligence community.
According to the study, 52% of Palestinian casualties from the conflict were terrorists and 48% civilians.
A report released on Thursday said the newly identified combatant casualties belonged one of the following categories: some were terrorists left behind in Israel after being killed in fire fights with IDF units during the summer war; others were terrorists buried in tunnels or the ruins of buildings bombed by the IDF; and others were terrorists who died of their wounds in hospital and were not identified during hostilities.
“We believe that the 50 names identified by us represent a partial list and that there were many other terrorists whose names are not included in the various casualty lists,” the center added.
Prominent names on the list include members of Izzadin Kassam’s naval commando unit, which is a part of Hamas’s al-Nahba elite force.
Four naval commandos killed in Israeli territory during the July 8 Hamas raid on Zikim beach are also missing from Palestinian casualty lists and appear on the center’s list of 50 casualties; as are the names of 10 members of Izzadin Kassam killed in Israeli territory during a cross-border raid on Kibbutz Nir Am on July 21.
The attempt to censor the names “stem from Hamas’s policy of deliberate concealment, in order to serve the diplomatic, media, and legal campaigns against Israel,” Dr. Reuven Erlich, head of the Terrorism and Intelligence Center, told The Jerusalem Post.
He urged international bodies that cite Palestinian casualty lists to be wary, calling such lists “not serious.”
On the other hand, the report said, Hamas makes domestic use of the deaths of its operatives, despite their absence from formal casualty lists, by publicizing inside Gaza detailed information on them and the circumstances in which they were killed.
“This is in order to satisfy the families of those killed, to serve the glorification of Hamas’s military capabilities, and strengthen the myth of a ‘victory’ over Israel,” it stated.
The study cited an Israeli security source as saying that out of the 2,140 Palestinian casualties, some died of natural causes and accidents.
The source identified 886 names on the lists as terrorists, most (67%) from Hamas. Islamic Jihad casualties formed 22% of the identified terrorists killed. Out of 712 noncombatant casualties identified by the center, 345 were children and 268 were women.