Hamas releases video to prove IDF shelled military drill

Army had initially said two Hamas members were killed after firing on troops, but later admitted it hit exercise, though it maintains shelling was justified

The Hamas terror group published a video late Tuesday claiming to prove that two of its men were taking part in a military exercise when they were killed by Israeli tank fire earlier in the day.

The Israeli military had initially said it returned fire at the Strip after soldiers patrolling along the border were shot at from a Hamas post.

The army later acknowledged that the members of Hamas’s elite Qassam brigades were not shooting at the troops, but said soldiers could not have verified the intent of the fire in real-time.

The footage, released by the Qassam Brigades, shows two armed men at the top of an observation tower, as others — officials and families, according to the video — are gathered below them.

Text included in the video claims the two were “firing inside the post” as part of a military exercise.

A later frame shows the post just after being shelled by an IDF tank, killing the two, identified as snipers Ahmad Marjan and Abd al-Hafiz al-Silawi, both 23. Another six were injured in the Israeli strike, Palestinian media reported.

“The video refutes the enemy’s narrative about the two martyrs firing at its forces on Tuesday morning,” a message posted with the video read.

The IDF earlier released footage it said showed the Hamas men firing and the shell hitting the post.

However, the military later concluded that the men were in fact taking part in an exercise, and reportedly sent messages to Hamas via Egypt acknowledging the error but insisting that retaliatory fire on IDF troops would not be tolerated.

Tensions have been high along the Strip since a soldier was killed by sniper fire last month and a second soldier was later injured by a sniper.

According to the Haaretz daily, Israeli military officials believe the return fire was justified and say the exchange could have been avoided had they known in advance about the drill.

Palestinian mourners carry the body of a Hamas sniper killed by Israeli fire, during his funeral in Jabalia, in the northern Gaza Strip, on August 7, 2018. (AFP/MAHMUD HAMS)

Hamas threatened to avenge the deaths of the two snipers and warned Israel that it would pay for the attack.

“The resistance cannot allow the occupation to impose a policy of bombing sites and targeting fighters without paying the price,” it said in a statement.

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