Ya’alon: Hamas responsible for Gaza deaths

After 6 killed, defense minister says terror group allowed protesters to approach border fence, warns against rerun of 2014 war

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Alex Kolomoisky/POOL/FLASH90)
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Alex Kolomoisky/POOL/FLASH90)

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Friday evening that Hamas was responsible for the deaths of at least six Palestinians during clashes with IDF troops along the security fence between Israel and Gaza earlier in the day.

“They (Hamas) know that this is a closed area [and] they allow rioters to go there,” Ya’alon said, according to Channel 2 television. He also expressed hope that Hamas would refrain from escalating the situation, and referred to the bloody war that Israel and the terror group waged last summer.

“I hope that Hamas remembers Protective Edge,” Ya’alon said, using the name of the IDF operation during the 50-day conflict.

The incident began with some 200 Palestinians approaching the security fence in northern Gaza, closest to Kibbutz Nahal Oz.

A Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli soldiers during clashes on the Israeli border in eastern Gaza City, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
A Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli soldiers during clashes on the Israeli border in eastern Gaza City, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

“They began throwing stones and rolling burning tires at Israeli forces,” an Israeli army spokesperson said.

IDF troops, who remained on the Israeli side of the border, opened fire at the protesters, who were approximately 150 feet (50 meters) away, in order to break up the protest and push them from the fence, the spokesman said.

אחמד Herbawi וחוסאם שאדי נהרגו בעימותים עם צהלמזרחית לשכונת סג'עיה( 2 הרוגים לפחות)כרגע הם מדווחים על 20 פצועים.#עזה

Posted by Pub-leak on Friday, October 9, 2015

The protesters were from Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and other groups in the Strip, Arabic news outlets reported.

According to the Palestinian news agency Ma’an, the Health Ministry in Gaza named the six fatalities as Shadi Hussam Dawla, Ahmad al-Harbawi and Abed al-Wahidi, all aged 20, who were killed east of the Shejaiye neighborhood of Gaza City; Muhammad al-Raqeb, 15, Adnan Moussa Abu Elayyan, 22, and Ziad Nabil Sharaf, 20, were killed near the southern Gaza town of Khan Yunis.
Earlier in the day, Hamas’s chief in Gaza called for additional violence against Israel.
Palestinian Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, gives a speech during a rally in Gaza City, Aug. 27, 2014. (AP/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinian Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh. (AP/Khalil Hamra)

“Gaza will fulfill its role in the Jerusalem intifada and it is more than ready for confrontation,” Ismail Haniyeh said during a sermon for weekly Muslim prayers at a mosque in Gaza City.

“We are calling for the strengthening and increasing of the intifada… It is the only path that will lead to liberation,” he said.

Before Friday, during the days of unrest in Israel and the West Bank, Gaza had remained relatively quiet. However, Hamas had urged Gazans to join a Hamas-sponsored mass protest after Friday prayers in solidarity with the struggle by West Bank Palestinians against Israel and to “defend al-Aqsa.”

Hamas leaders have praised the perpetrators of terror attacks in recent days, and increasingly urged West Bank Palestinians to carry out attacks.

AFP and Avi Issacharoff contributed to this report.

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