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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Israeli officers admit that most Gaza fatalities classified as ‘terrorists’ are civilians

Israeli newspaper Haaretz collects testimonies from officers, soldiers who have fought in Gaza

Israeli officers and soldiers have admitted that most of the fatalities classified by the army as “terrorists” during its war on the Gaza Strip are actually civilians, a report said Sunday.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz collected testimonies from officers and soldiers who have fought in Gaza during the war, which has been ongoing since Oct. 7, 2023.

Read more: Netanyahu approves ‘operational plan’ to attack Rafah in Gaza

“The Israeli army says 9,000 terrorists have been killed since the Gaza war began,” the report said.

Israeli officials and soldiers, however, told Haaretz that “these are often civilians whose only crime was to cross an invisible line drawn by the Israeli army.”

“We were explicitly told that even if a suspect runs into a building with people in it, we should fire at the building and kill the terrorist, even if other people are hurt,” one soldier told the newspaper.

According to the testimonies of the officers and soldiers, the Israeli army fires at anyone entering the “kill zone” it has defined, whether armed or civilians.

A reserve officer said that “in practice, a terrorist is anyone the army has killed in the areas in which its forces operate.”

Read more: UN court orders Israel to let food into Gaza

“They ask you how many, and I give a number based on what we see and understand on the ground, and we move on. It’s not that we invent bodies, but no one can determine with certainty who is a terrorist and who was hit after entering the combat zone of an Israeli force,” he added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing severe criticism within Israel for failing to achieve the goals of the war on Gaza, particularly in eliminating the Palestinian group Hamas and returning Israeli hostages.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by Hamas which killed some 1,200 people.

Nearly 32,800 Palestinians have since been killed and 75,300 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which on Thursday asked Israel to do more to prevent famine in Gaza.