IDF: Hamas Did Not Attract Big Number of Protesters Due to Violent Border Scenes
AP Photo / Adel HanaMiddle East13:42 16.05.2018(updated 14:04 16.05.2018) Get short URL
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Palestinian Hamas movement failed to attract the desired number of protesters on Monday, possibly due to the very violent incidents recently witnessed on the Israel-Gaza Strip border, head of the Arab media division of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesperson’s Unit, Avichay Adraee, told Sputnik.
“Hamas failed to make people come [to the border]. According to our estimations, there were 40,000 participants of the protest, although Hamas called for a million people march. Perhaps the scenes of violence we witnessed there have become the reason why Hamas failed to attract a sufficient number of protesters,” Adraee said.
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Regional states and a number of European nations have accused Israel of using excessive force and violating Palestinians’ rights in what they considered to be peaceful protests.
“In fact, the march is not a peaceful procession, we have documents proving it provided not only by intelligence. According to the photos and actions of protesters, it is obvious that they are not supporters of peace, trying to persuade Israel to open the border in an effort to find a job there. On the contrary, they are agitators, many of whom are Hamas members… and members of armed organizations,” Adraee added.
The spokesman noted that the IDF was ready for different defensive and offensive options.
“Yesterday we sent a tough message to Hamas having carried out airstrikes in the Gaza Strip…. Five strikes on Hamas positions. The tanks also struck blows at their positions and thus warned that the army hands are not tied,” Adraee added.
On Monday, mass protests erupted in Gaza in light of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Israel and the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem. A total of 61 Palestinians were killed and over 2,700 were injured by Israeli forces, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
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Since March 30, the Palestinians have been holding anti-Israeli protests near the Gaza border. The Israeli forces have meanwhile been suppressing the demonstrators, citing security concerns. Over 100 Palestinians have been killed and over 12,000 others have been wounded by the Israeli forces since the onset of the riots.
Hamas, which is listed as a terrorist organization in a number of countries, including the United States and Israel, gained control of the Gaza Strip after a short war with Fatah in 2007. Israel has held Hamas responsible for numerous attacks coming from the Gaza Strip.