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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"Martyr posters" suggest a high terrorist death toll

From AP:
Some were killed when tank shells hit their homes. Others died when bombs erased their offices. Still others _ like Islamic Jihad fighter Mohammed Bedawi _ met their end battling Israeli troops.

"The drone hit him," said his cousin, Abed Bedawi, 21, referring to the unmanned surveillance planes often seen in Gaza's skies. "He was laying a bomb for a tank when the drone fired a missile at him."

Now they are all memories, their faces rolling off the presses at the Nibras print shop.

The shop prints customized, full-color posters and banners commemorating the dead _ a Palestinian tradition for people killed by Israel. In the wake of Israel's 22-day Gaza offensive _ which killed nearly 1,300 Palestinians _ the shop is one of Gaza's few businesses experiencing a postwar boom.

...While not comprehensive, the posters enter a new element into the debate over how many militants were killed by Israel. The Israel military says it killed 700, while Hamas and other militant groups say they lost 158. In its final report on the death toll, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said 223 of the 1,285 killed in the war were fighters.

Although the shop hasn't kept records, al-Hor guesses he has done posters for 350 people since the war's end, about 250 of them militants, suggesting the militant groups lost more fighters than they acknowledge. Other say the groups often claim the dead as members of their movements even when they were not.
Fatah was known for creative accounting of its billions of dollars; Hamas is known for its creative accounting of dead terrorists.