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Friday, February 20, 2009

More intrigue from Jabalya UNRWA school

The Jerusalem Post reports:
The IDF's Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA), which earlier this week told The Jerusalem Post that 12 Palestinians were killed in the shelling near a UN school in Jabalya, north of Gaza City - and not 42 as claimed by Palestinian officials at the time - has now given the Post the names of seven of those fatalities.

The incident at the UN school was a key case in point, said the CLA's head, Col. Moshe Levi, since initial reports erroneously stating that the IDF had fired at the school, and putting the death toll at 42, were widely adopted at first by the UN and various NGOs. Earlier this month, the UN corrected its position and confirmed that the shelling and all of the fatalities had taken place outside the school compound.

Within hours of the incident on January 6, the IDF named two Hamas operatives, Immad Abu Askar and Hassan Abu Askar, as being among the dead.

Levi said nine Hamas operatives and three noncombatants died in the incident near the school. The seven names newly released by the CLA were: Ranin Abdullah Sameh, 12, Hadifa Jihad Kahloud, 17, Faris Mahmoud Faraj Allah, 21, Nafed Abu Abid, 22, Abed Muhammad Kadas, 25, Ayman Ahmad el-Khourd, 35, and Basem Abdel Gabin, 40.

The CLA would not specify how it had obtained the names. Officials said these names were being checked and categorized as combatants or noncombatants.
This sentence doesn't make much sense - if they already announced that 9 of them were combatants and three civilian, why don't they know which of the names are in each category?

But the next sentence is more intriguing:
On the day of the incident, officials further said, officers from the CLA contacted the Palestinian Health Ministry and were told that three Palestinian civilians had been killed and that Hamas was hiding the identities of the remaining casualties.
If the Palestinian Health Ministry never claimed the initial count of 42 deaths, then who did? The UN said 30, and PCHR said 27 civilians, so it wasn't either of them. Was this just another case of some reporter or bystander making up a number and having the world believe them without question? And if so, how many other times has this sort of thing happened?

And if the IDF turns out to be correct - and so far, they are the only ones to release names of the victims - then we have solid proof that the UN and PCHR are not reliable. All the other groups need to do to prove the IDF wrong would be to give us their own list of more than 12 victims.