Hamas admits most Israel demo victims were its supporters
MOST of the protesters killed by Israeli fire this week were members of Hamas, the militant group claimed on Wednesday.
Just hours later, Israel carried out airstrikes on Hamas sites in Gaza.
A senior Hamas member said 50 of the 62 Palestinians killed in protests on the border were members of the grou although officials said they were demonstrating peacefully.
The Israeli military said its overnight air strikes were in response to machine gun fire from the Palestinian territory that hit a building in the Israeli city of Sderot.
However, no troops were wounded in Wednesday’s exchange.
The army said planes had bombarded a military compound and a weapons production facility in the northern Gaza Strip. The Palestinian health ministry said a man was moderately wounded by shrapnel, but didn’t say whether he was inside a militant site or nearby.
Israeli fire killed dozens of Palestinians on Monday during a protest along the Gaza border. Senior Hamas official Salah Bardawil said 50 of those killed were members of the militant group. But he did not specify whether they were members of its armed or political wing.
Another Hamas official said the victims were demonstrating peacefully, while the Hamas-run health ministry said eight were children.
Tens of thousands have protested along Gaza’s border with Israel since March 30, calling for Palestinian refugees to be able to return to their homes now inside Israel.
The largest demonstrations coincided with the move of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Monday. The death toll led to global condemnations of Israel and calls for an independent probe. But Israel insisted its actions were necessary to stop mass infiltrations from the blockaded Palestinian enclave controlled by Hamas.