Over half of some 1,400 Palestinians killed in Israel's Gaza Strip war earlier this year were civilians, including 252 children younger than 16, a leading Israeli human rights groups said Wednesday, refuting the Israel army's claim that most of the dead were armed men.
According to the AP, the Israeli rights group B'Tselem on Wednesday published data it said were compiled in months of research, including visits to families of victims. It stated 1,387 Gazans were killed, including 773 civilians and 330 fighters. Thirteen Israelis also died, including four civilians.
B'Tselem said that "the extremely heavy civilian casualties and the massive damage to civilian property require serious introspection on the part of Israeli society."
The Israeli military has put the Gaza death toll at 1,166, including 709 fighters and 295 civilians. It said Wednesday that it believes B'Tselem's findings are based on flawed study, including reliance on what it said are exaggerated death tolls by Palestinian human rights groups.
Two Palestinian human rights groups have put the death toll at just over 1,400 and — like B'Tselem — released lists of names.
B'Tselem spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli said researchers focused on civilians, particularly children and minors. B'Tselem noted that 248 Palestinian police officers were killed while at their stations, most in surprise air strikes on the first day of the war.