As Military Operation in Gaza Ends, the Dispute Over Casualties Begins

Palestinian officials claim that 44 people were killed during Operation Breaking Dawn, while Israeli estimates put the death toll at 35

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Palestinians inspect their house which was hit by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City.
Palestinians inspect their house which was hit by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City.Credit: Fatima Shbair /AP

With the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad appearing to hold up, both sides are assessing the casualties and damages caused during the military conflict.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 44 people were killed during the operation. Conversely, the Israeli military puts the total Palestinian death toll at 35.

Officials in the Gaza Strip further claim that 15 children and four women are among those killed by Israeli airstrikes, though Israel has disputed that claim. On Monday, Islamic Jihad confirmed that 12 of its members are among the dead.

The Israeli military has claimed that out of the 35 Palestinians killed in the operation, 11 were not targeted, such as women and children.

On Saturday, four Palestinian children were killed in a strike near a mosque in northern Gaza. The next day, eight children and teenagers were killed in two separate attacks. The IDF has attributed all of these deaths to rockets launched by the Islamic Jihad that had mistakenly fallen in the Gaza Strip.

Regarding the Saturday attack that killed four children aged five, nine, 10 and 11, Israeli officials refuted the claim, saying that there weren't any airstrikes carried out in the area. On Sunday morning, the IDF released a video showing the errant rocket misfiring and exploding inside the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Health Ministry added that 360 civilians were wounded during the military conflict. In Israel, emergency services reported that 47 civilians were taken to hospitals, including 3 injured from rock shrapnel, 31 that were hurt while seeking shelter from rockets and 13 people who suffered from anxiety attacks – including a 74-year-old woman.

Palestinian militants launched some 1,100 rockets into Israel, the Israeli military said, 200 of which exploded within the Gaza Strip. 380 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome, with the defense system successfully intercepting 95 percent of the rockets that were fired at populated areas, according to the IDF.

Caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid unleashed the offensive – dubbed Operation Breaking Dawn – by killing a senior Islamic Jihad commander in a wave of strikes on Friday, less than three months before a general election in which he is campaigning to keep the job.

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