IDF: 9 medics killed in Gaza op were Hamas operatives

Nine Palestinians medics reported to have been killed by the IDF during last month's Operation Cast Lead were in fact Hamas operatives, an investigation by the IDF's Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) has established. Hamas platoons that fought against IDF troops during the ground offensive in Gaza consisted combat soldiers, reconnaissance squads and combat medics. "Their medics were part of the Hamas medical staff and were similar to combat medics that we have in the IDF in the sense that they are soldiers," the head of the CLA Col. Moshe Levi told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. Last week, the International Solidarity Movement, a pro-Palestinian NGO, quoted statistics obtained by the Palestinian Health Ministry according to which 15 Palestinian medics were killed during the three-week operation. But, said the CLA, some of those reportedly killed were not medics, while in other cases the reports of deaths turned out to be false. One of the "medics"reported dead was Anas Naim, the nephew of Hamas Health Minister Bassem Naim, who was killed during clashes with the IDF on January 4 in the Ash Sheikh Ajlin neighborhood of Gaza City. Following the clashes, the Palestinian press reported that Naim was killed and that he was a medic with the Palestinian Red Crescent. However, an investigation by the Gaza CLA discovered numerous pictures of Naim posing holding a RPG launcher and a Kalashnikov assault rifle posted on a Hamas website. "Naim was killed but he was, as the pictures show, not a medic," Levi said. Two days earlier, on January 2, a Hamas website reported that Israel had shelled the Dabash family home in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City and that a medic, named Id Ramzan, was killed. But in a report posted on the same website several hours later, Ramzan, who was described as a member of Hamas's Civil Defense Unit, was reported to be alive and to have just conducted a live interview with Al-Aksa Television.