Hamas press conference in Gaza
Hamas press conference in GazaIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Mainstream media outlets are parroting Hamas' claims regarding the Gaza casualties of the Cast Lead counter-terror operation in articles marking two years since  the beginning of Operation Cast Lead, from the last week in December 2008 until three weeks later in January 2009.

Israeli researchers found that 1,166 residents of Gaza were killed in fighting, most of them terrorists. Fewer than 300 of those killed were civilians, they said.

Names released by Hamas and Gaza media during the skirmish showed that the overwhelming majority of victims were young men. However, Hamas originally claimed that over 1,400 people were killed, and that more than 1,000 of those were civilians, saying that just 48 of its terrorists had died.

While the terrorist group recently admitted that 700, not 48, of its fighters were among the dead, world media continues to repeat its initial claim that most victims were civilians.

A report printed Monday by AFP stated that the operation “killed 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians,” while the Associated Press stated that Cast Lead “left about 1,400 Palestinians dead, including many civilians, and brought heavy international criticism on Israel.”

Reuters stated that the 2008 operation “killed some 1,400 Palestinians,” but unlike AFP, it did not claim that most of the dead were civilians.

Media outlets around the world often repeated Hamas claims during Cast Lead, leading to harsh international criticism of Israel. In one case, Hamas and local United Nations officials accused Israel of killing dozens of civilians who had hidden in a UN school – when in fact, none of those in the school were killed. The Associated Press, and the British papers Guardian and Daily Mail were among those to accuse Israel of killing civilians in the school.

UN official John Ging later clarified that Israel was right in saying that its troops had not fired on the school and that nobody in the school was killed.