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Israel: 300 civilians killed in Gaza

Israel: 300 civilians killed in Gaza
Palestinian relatives cry during the funeral of five children and their mother (Batran family) killed during Israeli strikes at the Bureij Refugee Camp in southern Gaza city on January 17, 2009. (UPI Photo/Ismael Mohamad) | License Photo

JERUSALEM, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- A total of 300 Palestinian civilians have been identified as among the dead from Israel's Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, documents show.

The Israeli military's Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration said its accounting of the conflict has found that 300 of a total of 1,200 Palestinians killed during the assault were "non-combatants," The Jerusalem Post reported Monday.

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The report said 580 of those killed have been identified as fighters of the Hamas Palestinian militant group. Another 320 victims have yet to be classified but they have been described as all men, two-thirds of whom were deemed likely by Israel to be terror operatives.

The figure of 300 civilian deaths clashes wildly with Hamas estimates of 895 such deaths. Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration chief Col. Moshe Levi told the newspaper the Hamas figures are the result of "false reporting" that have given the international community a "vastly distorted impression" of the Gaza death toll.

Operation Cast Lead began Dec. 27 and lasted about three weeks.

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