Opinion

Estimating the number of Gazans killed by Islamic Jihad rockets

It appears that in the latest round of fighting, half of all Gaza deaths were the fault of Islamic Jihad, not Israel.

Rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli civilian populations on Aug. 7, 2022. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
Rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli civilian populations on Aug. 7, 2022. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
Alex Safian
Alex Safian

An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire has apparently ended this round of fighting between Islamic Jihad and Israel. During the brief conflict, the Gaza-based Palestinian terrorist group fired at least 935 rockets and mortars at Israel, with around 160 of them falling short and hitting Gaza.

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry claims that 44 Palestinian civilians were killed in the fighting, including 15 children, and Palestinians have blamed each of these deaths on Israel.

However, Israel Defense Forces radar intercepts and video prove that errant Islamic Jihad rockets killed at least nine Palestinian civilians, including four children in the Jabaliya refugee camp:

But what about the other errant rockets—how many Gazans did they kill? Even with Israeli radar data, without knowing where and when people were killed in Gaza, it is impossible to definitively answer this question.

However, it is possible to estimate the number by employing the method used by this author to assess the toll taken by errant Palestinian rockets in the May 2021 conflict between Israel and Hamas.

“How Many Gaza Palestinians Were Killed by Hamas Rockets in May? An Estimate,” published by the BESA Center in June 2021, assessed the deadliness of Palestinian rockets based on the toll taken by those that eluded Israeli defenses and hit cities and towns. The study then accounted for differences in population density between Israel and Gaza, as well as the effectiveness of Israeli civil defenses, including early warning alerts, safe rooms and bomb shelters.

If we use this method in regard to the present hostilities, based on current data it can be expected that 160 errant Palestinian rockets would have killed more than 21 Gaza residents, or almost half of the currently known death toll according to Hamas.

Finally, even though Hamas counts all Palestinian deaths as civilian, there’s no question that many of these deaths were Israeli-targeted Islamic Jihad members, meaning that many more of the actual civilian deaths were the result of errant Palestinian rockets rather than Israeli attacks.

Alex Safian is associate director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

This article was originally published by CAMERA.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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