Senior Netanyahu Adviser: ‘Many of the Casualties’ in Gaza Conflict Killed by Errant Hamas Rockets
Mark Regev, senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said in a Sunday interview that “many” of the Gaza casualties in the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas were caused by rockets fired by the Palestinian militant group that fell short in the Gaza Strip, rather than by Israeli military strikes.
“We tried … to hit the terrorists and not to see innocent people caught up in the crossfire,” Regev said on “Fox News Sunday” to host Chris Wallace. “And while our goal was to avoid civilian casualties, Hamas had actually the exact opposite goal … They were brutally abusing Gaza civilians as a human shield for their war machine. We know for a fact that many of the casualties in this operation were caused by Hamas munitions. Almost 20% of their rockets fell short, landing in Gaza, killing Gaza civilians.”
Since the conflict began on May 10, about 4,340 rockets were fired by Hamas from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, with at least 640 falling within Gaza, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The clashes claimed the lives of 12 Israelis, including one IDF soldier. According to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, about 240 Palestinians were killed, a count that Israeli officials have called into question.
“We don’t know if these figures are reliable and include only civilians,” said a senior IDF official on Friday. “Past experience has shown that Hamas takes great effort to conceal numbers and the identity of the casualties for example by removing militant insignia from the dead bodies when they are being evacuated.”
After 11 days of fighting, Israel and Hamas entered into an unconditional ceasefire that took effect Friday 2 a.m. local time.
“Ultimately, in the operation we gave Hamas a heavy blow,” said Regev in the Sunday interview. “We dismantled a large part of their terrorist-military machine. We took out part of their leadership. We hit their command and control. Hopefully they will think twice even three times before they strike at Israel again.”