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Hamas says only 48 fighters killed in Israeli attack

Published 19/01/2009

The Palestinian militant group Hamas says it lost just 48 of its fighters during Israel's three-week attack on the Gaza Strip.

Official figures from the territory put the death toll among Palestinians at around 1,200, at least half of them civilians.

Hundreds of police officers were also killed in the first days of the attack, when Israel targeted police stations across Gaza.

The exact breakdown of civilians and combatants could not be ascertained because Israel banned the international media from entering the territory.

Hamas is claiming to have killed 80 Israeli soldiers, but the Israeli Government says just five of its soldiers were killed in the fighting and another four in a friendly-fire incident.

A 10th was also killed in a Hamas rocket attack on southern Israel.

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