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May 16, 2018 11:38 am

Hamas Leader in Gaza Identifies 50 Palestinians Killed During Gaza Border Confrontations as Members of Terror Group

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Senior Hamas leader Salah al-Bardawil. Photo: File.

A senior Hamas leader on Wednesday claimed that 50 of the 62 Palestinian rioters killed this week during clashes with the IDF on the Israel-Gaza Strip border were members of the Islamist terror group that rules the coastal enclave.

“In the last rounds of confrontations, if 62 people were martyred, 50 of them were Hamas,” Salah al-Bardawil confidently told a television interviewer.

An IDF spokesman quickly responded that Bardawil’s comment was further evidence that Hamas — a designated terrorist organization in the US and European Union — had orchestrated the border unrest. “This proves what so many have tried to ignore: Hamas is behind these riots, and the branding of the riots as ‘peaceful protests’ could not be further from the truth,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

In the same interview, Bardawil denied that Hamas had orchestrated the demonstrations, depicting them as “a popular Palestinian demand to break the siege [of Gaza] and achieve ‘return’ with the participation of all the national factions, including the Fatah movement.”

However, Bardawil had nothing positive to say about Fatah’s leader — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas — accusing him of siding with US President Donald Trump’s proposed “deal of the century” by not lifting sanctions he imposed on Gaza in May 2017. The sanctions are aimed at compelling Hamas to finally hand over power to the West Bank-based PA, ending the damaging split that arose from the 2007 civil war in Gaza between the two main Palestinian factions.

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