Protesters killed in Gaza were mainly ours: Hamas
Most of the protesters killed this week by Israeli fire along the border with the Gaza Strip were members of Hamas, the militant group said yesterday.
Israel, which has faced blistering international criticism over its response, is likely to latch on to the remarks to bolster its claims that Hamas has used the weekly border protests as cover to stage attacks.
In an interview with Baladna TV, a private Palestinian news outlet that broadcasts via Facebook, senior Hamas official Salah Bardawil said 50 out of the nearly 60 protesters killed on Monday were Hamas members, with the others being “from the people”.
Mr Bardawil did not elaborate on the nature of their membership in the group and his claim could not be independently verified. It was unclear if the protesters he was referring to were militants or civilian supporters of the Islamic group, which rules Gaza and opposes Israel’s existence.
The affiliation may matter little to those who say Israel’s response to the protests was heavy-handed.
Palestinian officials say the vast majority of the casualties were unarmed protesters. One Israeli soldier was wounded.