Media runs with Hamas’s casualty numbers in Palestinian-Israel border fight

by WorldTribune Staff, April 1, 2018

International news outlets including NBC and BBC relied on numbers provided by the Hamas terror organization for reports that hundreds of Palestinians were injured by live fire in clashes with Israeli forces at the Gaza Strip border, according to Israel’s military.

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry claimed that over half of the 1,400 it said were wounded during protests on March 30 and 31 were hit by live rounds fired by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Palestinians protest at the Gaza-Israeli border on March 30. / AFP

IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said Israel has no way of verifying the numbers, but said Hamas was exaggerating the casualty count.

Manelis said IDF information indicated only several dozen at most were wounded by live fire. Manelis explained that the remaining injuries were likely caused by tear gas and other riot dispersal methods.

Media reports on the 16 Palestinians killed in the clashes also failed to note that most were, according to the IDF, known terrorists.

The IDF said that 10 were members of Palestinian terrorist groups. The IDF published their names and jihadist positions.

The IDF also said five Hamas members who were killed in the clashes had disguised themselves among the civilian protesters.

Manelis said the military faced “a violent, terrorist demonstration at six points” along the Gaza-Israel border fence.

He said the IDF used “pinpoint fire” wherever there were attempts to breach or damage the security fence.

“All the fatalities were aged 18-30, several of the fatalities were known to us, and at least two of them were members of Hamas commando forces.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted on March 31: “Well done to our soldiers. Israel acts vigorously and with determination to protect its sovereignty and the security of its citizens.”

Netanyahu on April lashed out at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who claimed that Israel mounted an “inhumane attack” on Palestinians.

“The most moral army in the world will not accept moral preaching from someone who for years has been bombing a civilian population indiscriminately,” Netanyahu said, in apparent reference to Turkey’s ongoing battle against the Kurds.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh told the Hamas publication Al-Risala that the protests “changed the balance of power and the rules of the political game and opened the way for the return to the land of Palestine.”

Haniyeh added that the protests “prove to U.S. President Donald Trump, his [peace] deal and everyone who stands with it that there will be no concession on Jerusalem, no alternative to Palestine and no solution but [the right of] return.”

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