IDF releases Cast Lead casualty numbers

Military figures say at least 709 of 1,166 people killed were terrorists; 162 names yet to be attributed.

Gaza damage 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Gaza damage 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
The IDF formally released precise figures on Thursday for the first time detailing Palestinian casualties incurred during Operation Cast Lead, and said a large majority of those killed were terrorists. Of the 1,166 names of Palestinian dead gathered by the IDF's Research Department, 709 have been identified as "Hamas terror operatives," the IDF said, adding that the terrorists hailed from a variety of organizations. According to the IDF, 162 additional names of men killed during the operation "have not been yet attributed to any organization." A total of 295 Palestinian non-combatants died during the operation - 89 of them under the age of 16, and 49 of them women, the army added. The figures were released "following the publication of reports that introduced false information originating from various Palestinian sources," the IDF said. "In order to remove any doubt regarding the number of Palestinians killed in Operation Cast Lead, the IDF wishes to introduce the accurate figures to the public. "The figures were gathered following the examination of various intelligence sources and after the names and numbers were thoroughly cross-referenced and examined," it added. In its statement, the IDF stressed that Operation Cast Lead targeted Hamas "and not the citizens of the Gaza Strip." "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," the statement continued. The IDF said it took "extensive measures" to avoid striking noncombatants. The steps included issuing warnings via leaflets, broadcast warnings in Palestinian media outlets, and phone calls to homes in the conflict zone. "The procedure of making use of warning shots and the briefing of commanders to take extra precautions in populated areas were also among the measures taken by the IDF," the army said.