Senior Hamas official Salah Bardawil, during an interview to a Palestinian media outlet, revealed that fifty out of the 61 Palestinians who were killed along the Gaza Strip’s border-fence with Israel on Monday were members of Hamas. The revelation did not come as a surprise to Israel, which has dubbed Hamas as the key instigator of the violence, accusing the Palestinian group of taking the protests hostage for its terror related activities.
“First of all, I want to emphasize: the leadership of Hamas is a gang of cannibals who treat also their own children as ammunition. They have rocket ammunition, there is personal ammunition and there is a different kind of ammunition, children or women,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said.
Prime Minister Netanyahu also commented on the comments by the Hamas official, during the inauguration of the Guatemalan embassy in Jerusalem; vowing to continue to protect the state of Israel by all means necessary.
“I’m glad to say that today, at least we saw a relatively quiet day along the Gaza border. It is good. It happened because of our proper preparedness and because of the resolve of the IDF troops that protect our borders. They do not defend against some-kind of civilian protest. It is a combative maneuver by Hamas. The Hamas spokesman said today that some fifty of the 60 killed are Hamas members. We are aware of similar figures. That is why, Israel will continue to defend itself with all means necessary, and will not allow those who call for its destruction to infiltrate into our borders and threaten our communities. We will protect the state of Israel,” Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said.
While the Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar said in an interview with the Arab Al-Jazeera news network that his Islamist group “has reached agreements with Egypt not to deteriorate the situation into a military conflagration;” he warned, however, that “if Israel spills a lot of blood (Hamas) will be forced to use military resistance.”
Nevertheless, leaders of Palestinian political factions announced their continued efforts to rally their supporters against Israel, calling on all Palestinians to participate in daily activities until the fifth of June, which is the day the Palestinians mark Israel’s capture of Jerusalem from Jordanian occupation, during the six day Middle East war. “We call on our Palestinian nation to participate in the daily and weekly activities wherever they are located until the fifth of June marking the occupation of Jerusalem. We are determined to continue the protest of return and breaking the siege,” One of the ‘Palestinian Democratic Party’ leaders Mahmoud Khalaf said.
Meanwhile, Islamist militants opened machinegun fire from the Gaza Strip toward Israel yesterday, on several occasions. While the IDF reported no injuries, the Israeli Air Force retaliated by striking several militant targets in the northern Gaza Strip. The IDF stated that seven targets were attacked, including infrastructure belonging to the Islamist Hamas organization, including a weapons factory.