A senior Hamas member has claimed 50 members of the terror organisation were among those killed during Monday’s protests on the Gaza border.
Salah al-Bardawil, one of the Islamist group’s leaders, told Palestinian Radio on Wednesday: “In the last round of confrontations 62 people were martyred, 50 of them were Hamas.”
The 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.
The IDF yesterday issued a statement claiming it had identified at least 24 members of Hamas among the dead.
Senior Hamas official sets the record straight on who was killed in last Hamas-orchestrated riots: "50 of the 62 martyrs were Hamas". Take his word for it. This was no peaceful protest. pic.twitter.com/oop2y3oWrB— Jonathan Conricus (@LTCJonathan) May 16, 2018
In a further statement, the Islamic Jihad terror group said three of its members were also killed in the protests.
Jonathan Conricus, IDF international spokesman and head of social media, tweeted a clip of the al-Bardawil interview and wrote: “Senior Hamas official sets the record straight on who was killed in last Hamas-orchestrated riots: ‘50 of the 62 martyrs were Hamas.’
“Take his word for it. This was no peaceful protest.”
Later on Wednesday a senior Israeli army spokesman admitted the large death toll at Monday’s Gaza protests “has done us a tremendous disservice.”
Speaking at a briefing organized by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), Lt Col Jonathan Conricus said: “Hamas wanted the casualties.
“Hamas wanted people to die. Hamas wanted the pictures of the wounded and the overflowing hospitals ... and they had no problems sending the human shields forward.
“That is the sad reality of what we have been facing.”
While blaming Hamas for sending “rioters” to the border area and using civilians as human shields, Mr Conricus admitted: “We haven’t been able to get that message out of how it is from our side, what we are defending – and the ‘winning picture’ overwhelmingly, by a knockout, unfortunately, have been the graphics from the Palestinian side.
“The amount of casualties has done us a tremendous disservice, unfortunately, and it has been very difficult to tell our story.”