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Gaza: the numbers

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Robin Lustig | 13:52 UK time, Tuesday, 6 January 2009

According to the Israeli government, more than 3,200 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza during 2008. That's an average of more than 265 each month.

But for six months, Israel and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, were meant to be observing a ceasefire, or truce. So didn't it make any difference? Well, yes, actually, it did.

We asked the Israeli military spokesman's office to give us a month-by-month breakdown of rockets fired from Gaza during the truce. It came into effect on 19 June; here are the numbers (all of them, according to the military spokesman, are approximate).

19-30 June: 9
July: 20
August: 17
September: 2
October: 2

On 4 November, when much of the world was watching Barack Obama win the US presidential election, Israeli forces crossed into the Gaza Strip and killed six Hamas fighters. Israel says Hamas was building a tunnel under the border fence at Deir al-Balah which it intended to use to kidnap Israeli soldiers. Hamas responded by launching rockets and mortar shells into Israel. The number of rockets fired from Gaza during November was, according to the Israeli military, 190.

According to the best estimates I can find, 16 Israelis have been killed by rockets fired from Gaza since the beginning of last year. Palestinian medical sources say more than 500 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the current Israeli military operations 10 days ago - but as you know, the Israeli military are preventing foreign reporters from entering Gaza, so these figures can't be verified.

Do numbers prove anything? Probably not. But I think they're interesting, nonetheless.


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