As IDF Thwarts Gun Attack on Gaza Border, Israel Warns That Palestinian ‘Return’ Protests Are ‘Cover for Terror’
The IDF warned on Friday that the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas was attempting to manipulate violent protests by Palestinians along Gaza’s border with Israel as a cover for terrorist attacks.
A spokesperson for the IDF said that earlier on Friday — as Israelis prepared for the Passover holiday — Israeli troops thwarted a gun attack by a terrorist cell in the northern Gaza Strip.
“During the attack, two terrorists approached the security fence and fired towards IDF troops,” the spokesperson said.
“In response, IDF troops immediately fired according to the rules of engagement, targeting the terrorists as well as three nearby terror sites belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization with tank fire and IAF fighter jets. No injuries were reported and no damage was caused,” the IDF spokesperson continued.
The attempted terrorist attack came at the close of a day of violent clashes between Palestinians — many of whom were carrying improvised weapons — and the IDF. Twelve Palestinians were killed in the exchanges.
Friday’s “March of Return” protest was held to coincide with “Land Day” — an annual protest advocating the “right of return” for the descendants of the Arab refugees of the 1948 War of Independence. Approximately 750,000 Arabs were displaced in that war, following the Arab League’s rejection of a UN proposal to divide British Mandatory Palestine into Arab and Jewish states.
According to Gaza officials, tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered at five locations along the 65-kilometer (40-mile) border with Israel on Friday. The Israeli military estimate was 30,000.
Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, head of the IDF’s Southern Command, said his troops had identified “attempts to carry out terror attacks under the camouflage of riots.” Condemning Hamas for “cynically exploiting women and children, sending them to the security fence and endangering their lives,” the IDF emphasized that it “will not allow the security fence to be turned into an area of terror.”
Many pro-Palestinian advocates on social media accused the IDF of committing “war crimes.” In one post, Grahame Morris — a parliamentarian from the British Labour Party, currently mired in an antisemitism scandal — deployed an openly antisemitic meme to describe Israel, placing the Jewish state’s name between quotation marks and accusing the IDF of a “premeditated massacre.”
Jewish and pro-Israel organizations on social media vocally defended Israel’s right to defend itself.
Hamas is once again cynically exploiting its civilian population to draw attention away from its own flawed leadership and once again with tragically deadly consequences. Their call for “return” is a call for the end of the State of Israel. https://t.co/G6sgVDby3E
— ADL (@ADL_National) March 30, 2018
Cynical using children/civilians as human shields to create a 21st century blood libel against the #Jewish State on #GoodFriday and #Passover Eve–duly captured and broadcast on social media and #AlJazeera. #Israel #GazaReturnMarch #Gaza
— SimonWiesenthalCntr (@simonwiesenthal) March 30, 2018
Responsibility for the violence, endangering lives of both Israelis & Palestinians, lies solely with Hamas. pic.twitter.com/FnsVoeVguR
— Israel Foreign Min. (@IsraelMFA) March 30, 2018