This was an important military operation (Dec/27/2008-Jan/18/2009). The reason was explained by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: “No state can tolerate the launching of rockets over its territory”. In January 2008, Hamas violated the border between Gaza and Egypt (the Philadelphia route), smuggling long-range rockets. On Jan/5/2008, a powerful Grad rocket was launched against Ashkelon (Israel) from the neighborhood of Al-Atatra, in the north of the Gaza Strip. During those six months, they launched 100 rockets per month against Israel. After a cease-fire mediated by Egypt (Jun/19/2008 – Dec/19/2008), Hamas reinitiated the massive launch of rockets. The objective declared by Israel was not to destroy Hamas, but to weaken its military capacity (different to what Olmert declared in 2006, when he said that the objective was to “destroy Hezbollah” in Lebanon). Israeli military usually call these operations “cutting the grass”, increasing the enemy’s dissuasion. The Israeli casualties were clear: 14 deceased (3 civilians) and 320 wounded. The number of Palestinian victims varied due to the political explosion of the issue: according to Israeli Intelligence, 1,166 lost their lives (709 combatants, 162 unknown, 295 “not involved”). According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (in the hands of Hamas), 1,366 Palestinians died, almost all of them civilians. However, in November 2010, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Hamas, Fathu Hamad, confirmed that 700 of its combatants had perished in Operation Cast Lead. This number is similar to the data published by Israel and contradicts those shown by human rights organizations. The proportion of deaths: for each deceased military, 0.51 civilians. In February 2009, Amnesty International published a report stating that during the operation, Hamas eliminated alleged collaborators with Israel (endorsing them to Israel).
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