Discrepancies over number of Palestinian civilian deaths
Overall number of dead similar in Israeli and Palestinian accounts, but breakdowns differ.
By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
The IDF and Palestinian Ministry of Health both put the Palestinian death toll since the start of Operation Cast Lead at just over 900 as of Monday evening. Thirteen Israelis have been killed in the 17 days of conflict, 10 of them soldiers.
However, there were marked differences in the Israeli and Palestinian breakdown of the Palestinian dead. The Palestinian figures indicated that 292 children and 75 women were among the civilian dead; the UN's humanitarian coordinator, which cited these figures, did not give a figure for male civilian fatalities. The IDF, by contrast, estimated the entire Palestinian civilian death toll at some 250.
Based on intelligence and information obtained by the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration, the IDF said it had established that at least 400 of the dead were known Hamas operatives, and that it believed 250 of the remaining 500 fatalities were also Hamas operatives.
The UN Special Coordinator for MIddle East Peace in Gaza, Hayat Abu-Saleh, issued a report on Monday warning of a mounting humanitarian crisis.
Many basic food items, including food for infants and malnourished children, were no longer available, the report said, and the destruction in Gaza was jeopardizing water, sanitation and medical services. There were increasing risks of epidemic outbreaks resulting from the disruption of vaccinations, uncollected rubbish piling up in the streets and unsafe drinking water.
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