Gaza civilian toll in Isarel massacre near 700, says rights group

The actual death toll overall in Gaza may be higher than reported, because Israeli bombs and high explosive shells have collapsed entire buildings and there may be bodies buried in the rubble.

Gaza civilian toll in Isarel massacre near 700, says rights group
Figures from Gaza now put the civilian toll at 698 dead or about 65 percent of overall fatalities, the Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said on Thursday.

Samih Mohen of the organisation's office in Ramallah in the West Bank said the toll to midnight on January 14th included 230 children, 76 women, seven medical workers, three journalists and two United Nations contractors.

The rest -- 380 dead -- were adult males, he said.

This number did not include 166 Palestinian civil police killed by Israeli bombing on the first day of the offensive.

He said the centre counts casualties independently of the Health Ministry in Gaza. Its figures are collected daily by the organisation's field workers who visit Gaza hospitals, clinics and morgues, Mohen said.

The U.N. Humanitarian Affairs chief, John Holmes, has said the casualty figures from Gaza indicate over 5,000 wounded.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said any civilian casualties in the 20-day-old offensive were "inevitable".

The actual death toll overall in Gaza may be higher than reported, because Israeli bombs and high explosive shells have collapsed entire buildings and there may be bodies buried in the rubble.


Reuters
Last Mod: 16 Ocak 2009, 12:45
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