The Hamas terrorist group which rules the Gaza Strip said on Thursday it was paying compensation to the families of Palestinians killed in clashes with Israeli forces on the border.
In a statement, a Hamas spokesperson pledged $3,000 to the relatives of those killed by Israeli fire. Palestinians injured by Israeli troops in the clashes would receive $200-$500 in compensation, depending on the level of injury, the Hamas spokesman said.
The payments were being provided “in light of the difficult economic conditions experienced by our people in the Gaza Strip as a result of the continued Israeli siege,” Hamas said.
The terror group began distributing the money on Thursday, according to Palestinian media.
At least 18 Palestinians were reported killed in clashes over the past week. In the most recent fatal incident, on Thursday morning, the IDF said an armed Palestinian man who approached the border was targeted by Israeli aircraft.
On Friday, over 30,000 Palestinians demonstrated along the Gaza border in what Israel describes as a riot orchestrated by Hamas and what Palestinians say was supposed to be a peaceful protest.
Violent protests have been staged every day since Friday’s mass demonstration, though on a far smaller level, usually involving a few dozen people. Nevertheless, the army has remained on high alert in the area out of concerns that terror groups could capitalize on the tensions and carry out attacks.
There were discrepancies in Palestinian reports on the Gaza death toll from Friday. While Hamas claimed Monday that 18 had died, the official news agency of the Palestinian Authority had the number at 16, and a number more died during the subsequent days. Israel has no official death toll figures. Over 1,000 were reported injured.
The IDF on Saturday named and detailed 10 of the dead as members of terror groups including Hamas. Hamas had earlier acknowledged five of them were its members. Islamic Jihad later claimed an 11th.
IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said on Saturday that all those killed were engaged in violence. Manelis said on Friday evening that the army had faced “a violent, terrorist demonstration at six points” along the fence. He said the IDF used “pinpoint fire” wherever there were attempts to breach or damage the security fence.
The Hamas announcement on compensation came as Palestinians prepared to again demonstrate along the Gaza security fence on Friday.
Ahead of the protests, Palestinians amassed tires that they planned to burn, which would create a smokescreen, shielding protesters — and, the IDF said it fears, terrorists — from the view of army snipers.
Palestinians also collected mirrors, which they hoped to use to blind and confuse the sharpshooters. Bulldozers and other heavy machines were used inside Gaza to build up berms for Palestinians to hide behind during the riots.
AFP, Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.