Housing Minister Yoav Galant on Tuesday directly threatened Hamas’s leader in the Gaza Strip after a day of violence in which 60 Palestinians were killed in clashes along the territory’s border with Israel, according to Palestinian sources.
“If Hamas continues to make mistakes — Yahya Sinwar and [Hamas] senior officials will be signing their own death warrants,” he said, referring to the Hamas leader in Gaza. “Hamas is an angel of death to the innocent residents of the Gaza Strip.”
Speaking at a security conference, Galant, a member of the high-level security cabinet and a former IDF general, said that improving the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip would be beneficial to Israel’s security.
“An improved humanitarian situation in Gaza is a security interest for Israel,” he added. “The better the humanitarian situation in Gaza, the more the security situation will improve. We need to be proactive and act accordingly,”
His comments came a day after media reports that Israel had delivered a message to Hamas via Egypt saying it will resume targeted killings of the group’s leaders if they continue to organize violent clashes on the border with the Gaza Strip.
Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said Tuesday that 60 Palestinians were killed and more than 2,700 were wounded the previous day amid the biggest riots and rallies in a weeks-long campaign of violent protests against Israel, known collectively as the “March of Return.”
It was the deadliest day in the Strip since the 2014 war between Israel and the Hamas terror group.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians had attended Hamas-organized protests on the Gaza border and hundreds of others clashed with Israeli troops on the outskirts of Jerusalem and in other locations in the West Bank, marking the 70th anniversary of what they call the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” of Israel’s creation in 1948, as well as protesting the relocation of the US embassy to Israel’s capital on Monday afternoon.
The Israeli military said Hamas tried to carry out bombing and shooting attacks under the cover of the protests and released video of protesters ripping away parts of the barbed-wire border fence.
Citing Hamas sources, Hadashot TV news said 10 of the terror group’s members were killed in the clashes, including a son of its co-founder Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi. The IDF’s spokesman said Hamas deployed 12 separate terrorist “cells” to try to breach the border at different locations, and that all were rebuffed.