The Israeli government has always claimed that during Operation Cast Lead (December 2009-January 2009) it targeted only combatants in its efforts to protect its civilians from rocket attacks. It has also claimed that most of the dead were combatants and issued lists of names of many of the combatants killed and identified them as members of the specific Hamas military units. Despite unprecedented efforts to avoid civilian casualties—including hundreds of thousands of leaflets, telephone calls and non-lethal, noise-making warning bombs—some civilians were killed, because Hamas deliberately hid behind civilians, using them as shields, when they fired rockets at Israeli civilians. 

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