During and after the events of “great return march” that began on March 20, 2018, between 32 and 34 Palestinians were killed (as of April 11, 2018). Most of them have been identified as terrorist operatives affiliated with Hamas and the other terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip. Most of them were killed while rioting against IDF forces. Some were killed while carrying out terrorist attacks, attempting to cross the border security fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, or in IDF attacks following terrorist activities carried out during the “great return march.”
- According to the initial ITIC analysis, 26 of the 32 (about 80%) Gazans killed were terrorist operatives affiliated with terrorist organizations, primarily Hamas. Nine were operatives in military wings and four in the security forces. The others were identified as affiliated with the terrorist organizations after death notices were issued by the organization or when their bodies were wrapped in organization flags at their funerals. Regarding the six whose organizational affiliation was not identified, it can be assumed that they were civilians.
- The affiliation of the terrorists identified the following:
- Hamas: Five of the Gazans killed were identified as operatives of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military-terrorist wing. Four were identified as operatives in the security forces controlled by Hamas and involved in their activities (such as the military police). Seven were identified as being affiliated with Hamas after Hamas held memorial services or issued death notices for them, or they were buried wrapped in Hamas flags. One of them was identified as affiliated with the Islamic Bloc, Hamas’ student movement.
- Fatah: Six of the Gazans killed as operatives of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah’s military-terrorist wing. Four were identified as affiliated with the organization because Fatah issued death notices for them and their bodies were wrapped and buried in Fatah flags.
- Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ): One of the Gazans killed was identified as an operative of the Jerusalem Brigades, the PIJ’s military-terrorist wing.
- Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP): Two of the Gazans killed were identified as DFLP operatives. One was identified as an operative in the military-terrorist wing and the other described as a senior organization figure in the Nuseirat refugee camp.
- Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP): One of the Gazans killed was identified as a PFLP operative.
The high percentage of operatives of Hamas and the other terrorist organizations clearly indicates their central role in the front lines of demonstrators and those who clashed with the IDF. There is a glaring absence of the “civilian” activists who were central in preparing for the march but who were left behind when the violence began.
- Following is an Appendix with information about each of the 32 individual Gazans killed (there may be two additional Gazans about whom we have no information).
- Methodological note:
- As noted, this is an initial analysis, and more information may be added in the future.
- The Gazans killed were identified according to information from sources of varying reliability. In some instances the information indicated they belonged to one of the terrorist organizations, and in others circumstantial information linked them to the terrorist organizations.