BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) -- More than 1,000 Lebanese civilians
and combatants died during the summer war between Israel's army and
Hezbollah guerrillas, according to tallies by government agencies,
humanitarian groups and The Associated Press.
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Israeli authorities put the death toll for the Jewish state
at 120 military combat deaths and 39 civilians killed by Hezbollah
rockets fired into northern Israel during the July 12-Aug. 14
Both sides have revised their figures of Lebanon's war dead.
The latest Lebanese and AP counts include 250 Hezbollah fighters
that the group's leaders now say died during Israel's intense air,
ground and sea bombardments in Lebanon -- more than triple the 70
they acknowledged during the war. Israel initially said 800
Hezbollah fighters died but later lowered that estimate to 600.
None of the counts of war dead include Lebanese killed since
the fighting ended by exploding land mines or Israeli cluster bombs
scattered around southern Lebanon. Such blasts have killed 27 people
and wounded 167, according to the National Demining Office. No
Israelis have been killed by war-related blasts since then.
The Lebanese and AP counts of Lebanon's war dead range from
1,035 to 1,191.
Lebanon's top police office, in coordination with the
Ministry of Health, says 1,123 Lebanese died in the war -- 37
soldiers and police officers and 1,086 other people, including 894
named victims and 192 unidentified ones.
The report lists the 1,086 dead as "martyrs." It does not
differentiate between civilians and Hezbollah combatants, because
the government considers them all Lebanese citizens. It also can be
difficult to tell a Hezbollah fighter because many do not wear
A security official, who agreed to discuss the tally with AP
on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to
the press, said the figure of 1,086 was based on reviews of
hospitals, death certificates, village officials, families of the
deceased and eyewitness accounts.
In a reflection of the confusion of wartime, the Higher
Relief Council, an agency of the Lebanese prime minister's office
that deals with calamities, has a higher death toll -- 1,191 people,
most of them civilians. The council says its number is based on
figures from the health ministry, police and other state agencies.
The United Nations Children's Fund, meanwhile, says 1,183
people died, mostly civilians and about a third of them children.
Human Rights Watch is still compiling a final list, said
Nadim Houry, Lebanon researcher for the human rights group. So far,
he said, the list has 1,119 names, based on the group's own visits
to villages, information from mayors and a check of tombstones as
well as other lists made by local media and rescue services. The
names include civilians, military personnel and guerrillas.
During the war, AP counted 855 killed, tallying only
confirmed deaths reported by Lebanese police, security officials,
civil defense and hospital authorities. That included 37 military
personnel reported in official statements and 70 Hezbollah
guerrillas reported killed either by the group or by police.
Adding the additional 180 deaths now conceded by Hezbollah
raises the AP tally to 1,035.
The higher Hezbollah figure of 250 killed was disclosed in
mid-December during an AP interview with Mahmoud Komati, deputy
chief of the group's ruling politburo.
Komati dismissed Israeli claims that 800 guerrillas were
killed in the war. Asked about the Hezbollah disclosure, Israeli
government spokeswoman Miri Eisin revised that estimate, saying: "We
think that it's closer to 600."
Some of the discrepancies in numbers result from the fact
that three separate agencies were involved in search and rescue
efforts in southern Lebanon's hilly and remote terrain: the Lebanese
Red Cross, Islamic ambulance services and government civil defense
The Lebanese security official who talked with AP said the
lack of a central office to follow up accounts of dead and missing
had made it hard to get precise numbers even months after the war's
In addition, determining an exact figure has not been a
priority during the political strife that has snarled the country
since the war. Lebanon is enduring its worst crisis in over a
decade, with the pro-Western government in a standoff with Hezbollah
and its allies.
Hezbollah has come under fire from critics who blame it for
the war, which the guerrillas set off by carrying out a brazen
cross-border raid into Israel in which they killed three Israeli
soldiers and captured two others.
So the disclosure of a higher Hezbollah death toll could
bolster the group's standing during the political fight by showing
it sacrificed in defending the country. During the war, a higher
Hezbollah toll could have hurt morale.
The 192 unidentified victims included in the police count
consist of body parts or remains of dismembered bodies, the Lebanese
security official said.
The official said it was unclear why relatives had not
claimed them, but it could be because some were from whole families
that had been killed. The "unidentified" also could include remains
of Hezbollah fighters, the official said.