JERUSALEM – Israel’s Gaza offensive killed 1,382 Palestinians, with more than half of them, including 320 minors, not having taken part in the fighting, an Israeli human rights group said Wednesday.
B’Tselem said 773 of the Palestinians killed in the January-December offensive “did not take part in the hostilities,” a figure that contrasts sharply with the Israeli military claim that most of the casualties were militants.
B’Tselem said 252 children under the age of 16 and 111 women were among those killed, while the military put the figures at 89 and 49, respectively.
Sixty-eight Palestinians aged 16 to 18 who did not take part in the fighting were among the fatalities, which also included 19 minors in the same age group “who took direct part in the hostilities,” the rights group said.
“The extremely heavy civilian casualties and the massive damage to civilian property require serious introspection on the part of Israeli society,” a B’Tselem statement said, calling on Israel to conduct an “independent and credible” investigation.
It said 248 of the Palestinian fatalities were police officers, most of them killed when police stations were bombed on Dec. 28, the first day of the three-week offensive.
The Israeli military, which put the Palestinian death toll at 1,166, includes the officers among the 709 “terror operatives” it says were killed in the offensive. - AFP