Operation Breaking Dawn: Half of Gaza casualties terror group affiliated - report

Of the 49 Operation Breaking Dawn fatalities, 24 were reportedly affiliated with terrorist organizations.

 A picture published by Hamas with the death announcement of Yasser Nimr Al-Nabahin. (photo credit:  Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades website/screenshot)
A picture published by Hamas with the death announcement of Yasser Nimr Al-Nabahin.
(photo credit: Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades website/screenshot)

Almost half the Gazan casualties during Operation Breaking Dawn were affiliated with Palestinian terrorist organizations, The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) found in an analysis published last Thursday.

Of the 49 fatalities reviewed by the research institute, 12 were affiliated with Islamic Jihad, five with Hamas, six from Fatah and one from the Democratic Front For the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). 25 fatalities were reported to be unaffiliated or civilians.

According to ITIC, 38 people in total died from Israel Defense Force airstrikes and 11 died from failed rocket launches. Four of those killed by misfired rockets were reportedly affiliated with terrorist organizations, and 20 of those that died as a result of IDF operations were affiliated with terrorist groups. 

In an August 8 briefing, IDF Spokesperson’s Unit commander Brig.-Gen. Ran Kochav informed that 26 civilians died during the conflict. He said that 11 civilians were killed in Israeli airstrikes, and at least 15 were killed by Islamic Jihad rockets.

Hamas terrorists killed in Gaza

It is unclear to which degree some of the dead were affiliated with the terrorist movements. Of the five fatalities who were listed as being members of Hamas, only two were commemorated by the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing. One of the others killed was a Hamas policeman, whereas the others had Hamas accouterments at their funerals.

  Ahmed Muhammad Afana (credit:  Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades website/screenshot) Ahmed Muhammad Afana (credit: Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades website/screenshot)

While ITIC asserted that only one Hamas terrorist was killed by failed rocket launches, this is inconsistent with other reports. 

On Monday, The Jerusalem Post found that Hamas terrorist and policeman Yasser Nimr Al-Nabahin and his three sons had been killed by a misfired rocket in Bureij on August 7. According to DigFind, the director general of the police in Gaza claimed that Al-Nabahin was killed by Israel. ITIC also listed him as having been killed by the IDF.

The Post also learned on Tuesday that the IDF was confident that Hamas soldier Muhammad Abdul-Majid Afana had not been killed by Israeli force. While the circumstances of Afana's demise were uncertain, ITIC clarified that social media posts reported that Afana had died when he had attempted to help evacuate a neighbor's house after it had been hit by a rocket, and a wall fell on him. In that same incident, Ziaa Zaher Ahmed al-Barai, who ITIC described as a Fatah operative, was reportedly killed.

Rocket misfires in Gaza

Included in the list of casualties due to IDF attacks were the five children that were killed in the Fallujah cemetery outside Jabalya on August 7. At the time of the incident, the IDF told Israeli media a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket was responsible for the deaths. However, on Tuesday Haaretz reported that a military investigation showed that no Islamic Jihad rockets were fired at the time of the incident, and IAF data allegedly showed it struck targets in the area at the time of the incident.

While it does not appear that Hamas was involved in the hostilities in early August, Islamic Jihad was joined by other terrorist organizations. The Popular Resistance Committees' al-Nasser Salah al-Deen Brigades and the DFLP joined the fighting. One of the casualties, Hassan Muhammad Yusuf Mansour, was claimed by the DFLP's military wing as an operative in its rocket unit. 

Operation Breaking Dawn was notable for the great degree of documented rocket misfires that afflicted Gaza. Gazan terrorist organizations launched around 1,100 rockets during the three days of fighting, according to IDF statistics. Almost 200 of these projectiles fell within the Gaza strip.