Salah al-Bardawil, one of the Islamist group’s leaders, told Baladna TV, a private Palestinian news outlet: “In the last rounds of confrontations, if 62 people were martyred, 50 of the martyrs were Hamas and 12 from the people. How can Hamas reap the fruits if it pays such an expensive price?”. Questioned about the figures by the presenter, Bardawil said they were “official numbers”. Watch the video here.
In a further statement, the Islamic Jihad terror organisation said three of its members were also killed in the protests, bringing the total number of known members of terror groups among the fatalities up to 53.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed yesterday that at least 24 of the protesters killed on Monday have been identified as known members of terrorist organisations – Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The two terror groups have publicly acknowledged that a number of the dead were their fighters, releasing images of the men online.
According to Gaza’s Hamas-controlled Health Ministry, 60 people were killed in Monday’s violence and 1,300 were injured. Two more people were killed in renewed clashes along the border yesterday, according to the Ministry.
The violence coincided with the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem and the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” as Palestinians term Israel’s creation.
In one incident on Monday, Israeli soldiers prevented an attempted breach of its border with Gaza by eight Hamas fighters, who were killed in the ensuing gunfire. The armed terrorists threw pipe bombs and grenades at Israeli forces, before opening fire at troops when riot dispersal methods were used.
There were no reported incidents on the Israel-Gaza border on Wednesday, although the IDF is reportedly preparing for renewed clashes on Friday, on which the Palestinian Authority has called for a ‘Day of Rage’.
The IDF confirmed that Israeli tank fire destroyed two Hamas observation posts in southern Gaza on Wednesday. Terrorist operatives in the Gaza Strip also fired a heavy machine gun at an Israeli aircraft earlier in the day, hitting houses in the southern city of Sderot. No injuries were reported.
It has emerged that two Palestinian Facebook pages and an online forum directing rioters in Gaza gave explicit instructions to murder and kidnap Israelis on Monday, calling on protesters to “bring a knife, dagger, or handgun…and to leave them under your clothes and not use them or show them, except if you identify one of the [Israeli] soldiers or settlers”.
In recent weeks, the Israel Defense Forces have repeatedly claimed that they were concerned about the prospect of Hamas encouraging Gazans to try breach the border fence en-masse, and throughout the day they have documented various attempts to do so. In one incident, three Palestinians were killed as they tried to plant explosives at the border fence in the Rafah area, where especially violent riots have taken place. The IDF have released footage of one such apparent attempt to infiltrate the border fence – click here to watch.