Around 80% of the 32 Palestinians killed by the IDF during the ongoing Gaza border crisis were terrorist operatives or identified with terrorist organizations, an intelligence report asserts.
The report by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center said that 26 of the 32 Palestinians fit into those categories.
Nine of the dead Palestinians were part of military terrorist cells and four were part of Gazan security services, according to the report. The other 17 identified as connected with terrorist groups were so identified based on public statements made by various terrorist groups taking credit for the loyalties or activities of those individuals, the report said.
The remaining six slain Palestinians were not mentioned by any terrorist groups and are presumed to have been civilians.
The Meir Amit Center, located near Glilot, north of Tel Aviv, is viewed as unusually credible because it has ongoing connections to current military intelligence and is filled with top former Israeli intelligence officials.
According to the report, five of the dead were part of Hamas’s Izzadin Kassam military wing, while four were part of security services controlled by Hamas. Hamas took credit for the loyalties and actions of another seven of the dead and their bodies were wrapped in Hamas flags.
One of the dead was identified as being connected to Islamic Jihad’s military wing. Two of the dead were identified as operatives of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine – one as a military operative and one as a leader of the group in the Nuseirat refugee camp. One of the dead was identified with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Six of the dead were both members of Fatah and involved in violent or provocative activities as part of the border standoff, according to the report and Meir Amit center director Reuven Ehrlich. Two were identified as operatives of the Aqsa Brigades, Fatah’s military wing. Four more were identified as members of Fatah when Fatah took credit for the connection and wrapped their bodies in Fatah flags.
THE HIGH PROPORTION of persons identified with terrorist groups at the front showed that the protests and clashes are being orchestrated mostly by those groups and not by civilian leaders, the report said.
According to the center, many of the dead were not merely celebrated by terrorist groups, but the terrorist groups published photos of them armed and in military clothing.
Some of those killed were identified as being shot while trying to breach the border fence, during IDF attacks on Hamas lookout positions, and one, who was armed with a Kalashnikov and explosives, was shot by an IDF aerial vehicle.
Slain photo journalist Yasir Murtaja was listed among those affiliated with terrorists, with the report repeating allegations about his holding the equivalent rank of captain, his past uses of drones to collect intelligence about IDF positions, and ongoing involvement with Hamas security services.
All 32 of the dead except for two were men between the ages of 19 and 45 and none of them was among the original civilian protest organizers who were pushed aside by Hamas, Ehrlich told The Jerusalem Post.
Ehrlich emphasized that this disproved accusations that Israel is targeting women and children and civilians generally.
Two of the dead were minors with estimated ages of 14-16. While one of them was said to be part of Hamas’s student group, it was unclear under what circumstances they were killed and what justifications might be put forth.
The report did acknowledge that regarding one of the dead, the family has disputed the IDF’s characterization of him as being connected to a terrorist group.
Regarding a few of the dead, the report had more uncertain language, saying “it appears” that the individual was connected to a particular terrorist group. Some of these more borderline cases may account for the report identifying 80% of the dead as being connected with Hamas when an earlier report by the center said the percentage was at least as high as 60% (though that report said more research needed to be done). There have been situations in the past were terrorist groups have tried to claim “martyrs” as their operatives where that connection was debatable.
The report added that there might be two additional dead Palestinians, but that details about those cases were still vague.