Israel Answers Allegations On Heavy Civilian Casualties

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -

Israel has evidence that almost half of Palestinians killed in the 25-day-old Gaza war were armed terrorists, its deputy foreign minister said, answering international condemnations of a lopsidedly heavy civilian death toll.

Gazan human rights groups claim that at least 80 percent of the 1,669 Palestinians killed have been non-combatants, including hundreds of children.

Israel says it has done everything possible to avoid harming innocents and that Gaza’s dominant Hamas invites such casualties by operating in densely populated areas.

“There is research being done in the military, very professionally and reliably, (whose) conclusion is that at least 47% of the fatalities are terrorists, with photographs and names,” Tzachi Hanegbi told Israeli media, adding that the data would be presented to investigators.

Israel rejected the U.N .Human Rights Council’s probe announcement, describing the forum as biased.