50 members of the Hamas terror organization were among those killed in protests along the Gaza border on Monday, a Hamas spokesperson reportedly said on TV Wednesday.
Hamas official, Dr. Salah Al-Bardawil is clear about terrorist involvement in the riots pic.twitter.com/p5My6JGQRr
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) May 16, 2018
Monday’s violence on the border, which took place as the United States opened its new embassy in Jerusalem, was the bloodiest for Palestinians since the 2014 Gaza conflict.
At least 60 Palestinians were killed Monday and 2,200 were injured by gunfire or tear gas.
According to the army, the violence began at 11:30 a.m. with hundreds of rioters running towards the fence in the northern part of the Strip. A number of Palestinians climbed the fence at several points.
Some 40,000 Palestinians took part in violent demonstrations at 13 different locations along the fence, throwing stones, explosive devices and Molotov cocktails at the fence and IDF troops, as well as burning tires and launching burning objects such as kites with charcoal or containers of burning fuel with the intention of setting fires in Israeli fields, the IDF said.
The IDF accuses Hamas of using the protests as cover to carry out terrorist attacks. On Sunday, it said it had identified protesters’ intentions to burn engineering tools belonging to the army, damage security infrastructures on the fence, including pillboxes, as well as attempts to kidnap soldiers under the guise of the protests.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the violence saying that “every nation has the right to defend its borders. Hamas clearly says its intentions are to destroy Israel and sends thousands to break through the border for that end. We will continue to act with resolve to defend our sovereignty and our citizens.”
Maariv Online and Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.