At least eight of the children whose names were featured by the New York Times in a list of children killed during Operation Guardian of the Walls were killed by rockets launched by terrorist organizations that misfired and fell inside the Gaza Strip, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) has found.
On May 28, the Times published on its front page 67 pictures of children and adolescents killed in the Gaza Strip during Operation Guardian of the Walls with the headline, “They Were Just Children.” The Times listed the names of the casualties under the age of 17 who were killed, two in Israel and 65 in the Gaza Strip.
A few days later the Times printed a retraction, reporting that one of the pictures was of a child killed “under other circumstances and not during the hostilities.”
However, the ITIC found that this was not the Times’ only inaccuracy.
Baraa al-Ghrabi, 4, from Jabaliaת Ibrahim Hassanein, 16, from Beit Hanoun, Mustafa al-Abir, 17, from Beit Hanoun, Hussein Hamad, 11, from Beit Hanoun, Yazen al-Masri, 2, from Beit Hanoun, and Marwan al-Masri, 7 from Beit Hanoun were killed by rockets fired by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad at Israel that explode inside Gaza.
The ITIC further learned that Muhammad Sabar Ibrahim Suleiman, 16, who killed on May 11, 2021, in an attack in the eastern part of Jabalia along with his father, a commander in Hamas’ military Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades wing, was a Hamas member himself.
A video issued a few days after the end of the hostilities shows Muhammad Sabar Ibrahim Suleiman wearing an Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades uniform and learning to shoot a machine gun and other weapons. The instructor next to him is also wearing an Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades uniform.
“Despite his young age, he had been recruited by Hamas to its military-terrorist wing,” the ITIC pointed out.
Khaled Imad Khaled al-Qanua (Abu Suheib), who was identified by the New York Times as a 17-year-old boy, was found to be a 20-year-old terrorist operative. He was killed on May 13, 2021, in an aerial attack on a terrorist squad near Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.
The Mujahedeen Brigades, the military-terrorist wing of the Mujahedeen Movement, whose leadership split from Fatah and are today allied with the Islamic Jihad and close to Iran, issued a mourning notice stating he was an organization operative and 20 years old.
Most of the remaining 55 were killed when the IDF attacked terrorist targets and the children were either on site or nearby. Some were related to terrorist operatives who or whose houses were the targets of IDF anti-terrorist attacks.
Some were killed when two buildings collapsed after the IDF attacked terrorist tunnels dug close to their foundations. Hamas used the tunnels as command centers, to store weapons and as hidden passageways for operatives to move between posts.
“The IDF carried out about 1,500 aerial attacks, and despite its efforts to avoid harming civilians in general and children in particular, Hamas’ tactic of positioning its command centers in the heart of densely populated areas led directly to the unfortunate deaths of more than 50 children,” the ITIC explained in its report.
At least 120 non-combatants, including the children, and 111 terrorists from the various organizations were killed in the IDF strikes.
After Operation Guardian of the Walls, Yahya al-Sinwar, head of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, admitted that positioning the terrorist headquarters in civilian structures was “problematic,” and by implication led to civilian casualties.