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if ($cols[11] = $target1)

looks wrong!

Perhaps, but not really. One may need to assign a variable from another expression then test the truthness of that variable. What looks wrong if the variable is assigned to a literal value. This will issue a syntax warning (unless warnings are disabled):
my $x; if ($x = 'a literal value') { # will issue warnings }
Note that the if is (effectively) testing the contents of $target1, not equality of $target1 and $cols[11].
While you are right about the equality part, but the if construct is effectively testing the whole expression, not just the RHS.

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In reply to Re^2: using split by naikonta
in thread using split by maurkb

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