Hamas on Saturday blamed Israel for any escalation in violence from Gaza, after two members of the terror group were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a Hamas training camp in the Strip.
“Israel bears full responsibility for any results of the escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip,” said Hamas spokesman Hazem Kassem. “Yesterday, the spark of the intifada was lit and it will continue to blaze until we achieve our aim,” he said, referring to widespread Palestinian protests against against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Hamas on Thursday had called for a new intifada against Israel, and on Friday urged Palestinians to confront soldiers and settlers. Its leader Ismail Haniyeh on Friday praised the “blessed intifada,” urged the liberation of Jerusalem, and made plain the group was seeking to intensify violence against Israel.
Israel launched a series of air strikes after terror groups in Gaza fired several rockets into Israel on Thursday and Friday. At least one was intercepted by the Iron Dome system, but one landed in a residential area of the town of Sderot, without causing injuries.
In one of the IAF strikes late Friday on a Hamas base in Nusseirat, located in the central Gaza Strip, two Palestinians were killed. The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza named the men as Mahmud al-Atal, 28 and Mohammed al-Safdi, 30.
It said that their bodies were only recovered several hours after the pre-dawn strike. The terror group later confirmed the dead men were members of it’s military wing.
The strike followed three rocket attacks Friday night from Gaza into southern Israel.
“Today… in response to the rockets fired at southern Israeli communities throughout yesterday, Israel air force aircraft targeted four facilities belonging to the Hamas terror organisation in the Gaza Strip,” an English-language army statement said on Saturday.
It said the targets were “two weapons manufacturing sites, a weapons warehouse, and a military compound.”
“In each target, several components were hit,” it added.
Israeli strikes on Hamas facilities on Friday night wounded 14 people, among them women and children, the Hamas medical services said.
In a Wednesday address from the White House, Trump defied worldwide warnings and insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace a new approach was long overdue, describing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality.
The move was hailed by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum. Trump stressed that he was not specifying the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in the city, and called for no change in the status quo at the city’s holy sites.
Hamas, an Islamist terror group that seized control of Gaza in 2007, is committed to destroying Israel.