IDF releases names of UN school deaths
Seven of 12 Palestinians killed near Jabalya institution during Cast Lead identified by the army.
Photo: AP [file]
The IDF's Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA), which earlier this week told The Jerusalem Post that 12 Palestinians were killed in the shelling near a UN school in Jabalya, north of Gaza City - and not 42 as claimed by Palestinian officials at the time - has now given the Post the names of seven of those fatalities.
The seven names - two females and five males - bring the number of those named by the IDF as having been killed in the incident to nine. Within hours of the incident on January 6, the IDF named two Hamas operatives, Immad Abu Askar and Hassan Abu Askar, as being among the dead. The IDF said at the time the area next to the school had been used by terrorists to fire mortar shells at troops stationed nearby, and that the IDF had fired back.
The CLA, which is completing a register of Palestinian fatalities throughout Operation Cast Lead, and has identified more than 1,200, told the Post on Monday that the civilian death toll from the 22-day conflict was no higher than a third of the total fatalities, and that the international community had been duped by Hamas "fabrications" that pointed to twice as many civilian deaths.
The incident at the UN school was a key case in point, said the CLA's head, Col. Moshe Levi, since initial reports erroneously stating that the IDF had fired at the school, and putting the death toll at 42, were widely adopted at first by the UN and various NGOs. Earlier this month, the UN corrected its position and confirmed that the shelling and all of the fatalities had taken place outside the school compound.
The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has been working to compile its own data on the number and nature of all the Gaza casualties, "to gain clarity" on the controversial issue, a UN official said earlier this week.
Levi said nine Hamas operatives and three noncombatants died in the incident near the school. The seven names newly released by the CLA were: Ranin Abdullah Sameh, 12, Hadifa Jihad Kahloud, 17, Faris Mahmoud Faraj Allah, 21, Nafed Abu Abid, 22, Abed Muhammad Kadas, 25, Ayman Ahmad el-Khourd, 35, and Basem Abdel Gabin, 40.
The CLA would not specify how it had obtained the names. Officials said these names were being checked and categorized as combatants or noncombatants.
On the day of the incident, officials further said, officers from the CLA contacted the Palestinian Health Ministry and were told that three Palestinian civilians had been killed and that Hamas was hiding the identities of the remaining casualties.