Israel’s chief military liaison to the Palestinians released an Arabic-language Facebook video Sunday accusing the Hamas terror of spreading “fake news” and challenging reports that Israel had hit a playground in Gaza in its airstrikes Saturday.
“In the video before you, you can clearly see members of Hamas’s military wing carrying out an exercise in the building that was struck. Yesterday, it was claimed that this was an innocent civilian building and a children’s playground,” said Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon, known formally as the coordinator of government activities in the territories (COGAT).
“The truth is before you — combat training in a built-up area and an exercise simulating the abduction of an IDF soldier and bringing him underground into a terror tunnel. These are the goals for which this building was used!” Abu Rokon said.
He added that Hamas had intentionally located the military training building next to a mosque, “a holy place, used for prayer.”
In the Arabic-language video, Hamas terrorists in full combat gear and semi-automatic weapons are seen carrying out an assault in the building, firing into the rooms, rappelling down walls and grabbing someone dressed as an Israel soldier from a mock tank.
On July 14, the IDF struck a high-rise in Gaza that was regularly used by Hamas terrorist operatives for militant training, as can be clearly seen in this video. Anyone who carries out terrorist training near a mosque and a playground does not value religion or children pic.twitter.com/OblZ1CHe9Z
— COGAT (@cogat_israel) July 15, 2018
“People of Gaza, understand!” Abu Rokon added, “He who carries out terrorist training activities next to a park for children does not care about your children.”
Israel’s bombing Saturday came in response to some 200 rockets and missiles fired by Palestinian terrorists at Israeli communities close to the Gaza Strip over the weekend. The IDF attacked more than 40 targets in the Gaza Strip in the most extensive daytime assault since 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.
The escalation was sparked on Friday, when an Israeli officer was moderately injured by a hand-grenade thrown by a Palestinian attacker at the Gaza border. Israel responded with air strikes in Gaza that night, and terror groups in the Strip then began relentless fire of rockets and mortar shells at southern Israel.
“Hamas suffered a severe blow. The offensive tunnels were destroyed, the production and storage sites of the munitions were destroyed. Ninety percent of the rockets fell in open areas or the Iron Dome systems managed to intercept them,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said.
“However, those rockets that did fall in Israel, those sirens, those people running to bomb shelters — this is an unacceptable reality and we will not tolerate it,” vowed the defense minister. “I hope that Hamas has drawn conclusions, and if they do not reach a conclusion, they will need to pay a heavy price.”
Over the last few months, Palestinians in Gaza have flown thousands of kites and balloons attached to incendiary devices that have set off hundreds of fires in farm lands and nature reserves along the border with Gaza, destroying tens of thousands of acres.
Domestic pressure on the military to halt the burning flying objects has intensified, leading to Israel carrying out warning airstrikes and increasing the possibility that violence could escalate.
On Saturday night, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist groups announced that they had agreed to a ceasefire with Israel, following talks with Egypt and other international bodies.