Anybody who picks up a weapon, whether in uniform or not, is considered a Combatants, the police forces also used their weapons on Israeli forces, they weren't just gathered and shot, they got shot while they were firing on the IDF soldiers, so they lost their rights of being a "Protected Person."
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More than 60 people killed in suicide bombings in northern Nigeria, officials say (Reuters)
from the article: Hamas admits 600-700 of its men were killed in Cast Lead