Ha­mas of­fi­cial: 50 of those killed were our mem­bers

The Jerusalem Post - - FRONT PAGE - • By ADAM RASGON

Fifty of the Pales­tini­ans killed along the Gaza bor­der on Mon­day were Ha­mas mem­bers, Ha­mas Polit­buro mem­ber Salah Bar­daweil said on Wed­nes­day.

At least 61 Pales­tini­ans were killed on Mon­day, ac­cord­ing to Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesman for the Ha­mas-run Health Min­istry. “The num­ber I am telling you is of­fi­cial. Fifty mar­tyrs from Ha­mas were mar­tyred in this most re­cent bat­tle,” he told Bal­adna, a Gaza-based TV sta­tion.

Bar­daweil did not spec­ify what role the peo­ple who he said were Ha­mas mem­bers had in the or­ga­ni­za­tion or whether any of them be­longed to its armed wing, the Iz­zadin Kas­sam Brigades.

On Tues­day, the IDF said it and the Shin Bet (Is­rael Se­cu­rity Agency) had iden­ti­fied 24 of the Pales­tini­ans killed on Mon­day

as ter­ror­ists, mostly be­long­ing to Ha­mas but also some who were mem­bers of Is­lamic Ji­had.

Mean­while, later on Wed­nes­day, Ha­mas chief in Gaza Yahya Sin­war said Egyp­tian of­fi­cials told a Ha­mas del­e­ga­tion that vis­ited the Egyp­tian cap­i­tal early this week that Cairo does not want the protests on the bor­der to turn into war be­tween Pales­tini­ans and Is­rael.

“The Egyp­tian broth­ers af­firmed the im­por­tance of this move­ment re­main­ing peace­ful and not turn­ing into armed mil­i­tary con­fronta­tion,” Sin­war told Al Jazeera.

He added that Ha­mas agrees with what he said was Egypt’s po­si­tion on the protests, but the Is­lamist move­ment could re­sort to an armed con­fronta­tion with Is­rael if “cir­cum­stances” were to make that nec­es­sary.

Sin­war told Pales­tinian youth in Gaza last week that this past Mon­day and Tues­day would be “cru­cial days” in Pales­tinian his­tory.

While thou­sands came to the bor­der on Mon­day, a rel­a­tively small num­ber showed up there on Tues­day.

In­tel­li­gence Min­is­ter Is­rael Katz told Is­rael Ra­dio that Ha­mas de­cided to curb the protests af­ter Egypt warned the Is­lamist move­ment of a pos­si­ble harsh Is­raeli re­sponse if they were to con­tinue.

Sin­war said the protests will con­tinue and that Egypt said Pales­tini­ans have the right to con­tinue to par­tic­i­pate in them.

Thou­sands of Gazans par­tic­i­pated in the protests on Mon­day, as they have since March 30, es­pe­cially on Fri­days, to de­mand the re­turn of Pales­tini­ans to their an­ces­tral homes in Is­rael and to pres­sure the Jewish state to lift its re­stric­tions on the move­ment of peo­ple and goods into and out of the coastal en­clave.

The IDF de­scribed the protests on Mon­day as “a vi­o­lent riot,” as­sert­ing that par­tic­i­pants tried to en­ter Is­rael, threw rocks and Molo­tov cock­tails at se­cu­rity per­son­nel and placed a bomb near the bor­der fence.

In­ter­na­tional and lo­cal rights groups ac­cused Is­rael of us­ing “ex­ces­sive force” against “un­armed pro­test­ers.”

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