Terror factions in the Gaza Strip hinted Saturday at a possible response to the reported deaths of four Palestinians in weekly border clashes with Israeli troops.
“Following Israel’s crimes yesterday against non-violent protesters in the March of Return that led to the death of four demonstrators and injuries to dozens, the joint command center is in ongoing consultations,” the military wings of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terror groups said in a statement.
“The joint command center will have a clear position tomorrow regarding response policy and action guidelines concerning Israel’s arrogance and crimes against our people,” they added
A senior Islamic Jihad official was more specific, saying the group would renew attacks on Israel if more people were killed, and that it had “surprises” in store.
The Israeli army said around 8,000 Palestinians had gathered along the border Friday, burning tires and launching rocks and incendiary devices at soldiers, which did not reach the troops. It said soldiers opened fire “according to operational procedures.”
Three Palestinians, including a 16-year-old, were reported killed. Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry identified the teen as Mohammed al-Jahjuh and said he was “hit in the neck by a bullet [fired] by Israeli soldiers.”
Abdelaziz Abu Sharia, 28, and Naher Yasin, 40, died from their wounds after being shot in separate incidents along the heavily fortified frontier with Israel, officials said.
A fourth Palestinian died after succumbing to wounds sustained in Friday’s protests, the Palestinian Safa news agency reported Saturday morning. According to the agency, Ayman Munir Mohammed Shabir, 18, was shot in the abdomen during clashes with the IDF east of the Bureij refugee camp in the central Strip.
The ministry said 46 others were wounded. There were no reports of casualties on the Israeli side
Army Radio said they were the first Palestinian fatalities in Gaza protests since a ceasefire deal went into effect last month.
Former defense minister Avigdor Liberman said Friday’s clashes were proof that a ceasefire deal with Hamas, over which he resigned last month, was ineffective.
“‘The arrangement’ with Hamas is collapsing,” Liberman, who heads the right-wing Yisrael Beytenu party, wrote on Facebook.
He accused the government of ignoring the violence on the Gaza border and said the government was paying “protection money” to Hamas by allowing Qatari money for the terror group’s administrative workers into the Strip.
Ahead of Friday protest, Palestinian terror groups threaten fresh violence
The military wings of Gaza-based Palestinian terror groups warned in a joint statement Sunday that Friday will be “decisive” in determining their response to the killing of four people during border protests and riots last week.
The groups declared that they had prepared retaliation steps, and that their use will be dependent upon Israel’s policy.
It will be “a decisive day in examining the Zionist enemy’s behavior and intentions toward our people in the March of Return,” the Sunday statement said, referring to weekly demonstrations and often-violent riots at the border with Israel, pushed by Hamas, the terror group that rules Gaza, since March.
“It seems like the enemy has been missing the rounds of violence and the powerful reactions of the resistance, which will discipline it and stop it in its tracks,” the groups said.
The deaths were “a total crime and clear recklessness by the Zionist enemy,” which has “crossed red lines,” they continued.
“Regarding these crimes, the resistance will not act lightly with the enemy and stand by idly,” the statement warned.
“No funds, electricity, or water can stop us from undertaking our duty,” the terror groups declared, referring to the benefits that were reportedly part of an unofficial ceasefire that ended a previous round of heavy fighting in November. “It appears the enemy misses the rounds of fighting and the harsh responses of the resistance.”
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