Arab terrorists operating in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip used riots on the Israel-Gaza frontier last Friday to prepare for attacks on IDF forces patrolling the border, an IDF spokesperson revealed on Tuesday.
According to the spokesperson, on Monday, IDF soldiers discovered a backpack left near the security fence separating Israel and Gaza. The bag contained a number of firebombs ready for use against Israeli forces, according to an INN report.
IDF spokesman and Brigadier General Ronen Manelis said the discovery proved yet again that last week’s mass protests on the Israel-Gaza border were used by Gaza terrorists to carry out attacks on Israeli forces.
On Friday, some 30,000 Arab rioters gathered on the border as part of what organizers dubbed the “March of Return”. Rioters hurled firebombs and threw stones at Israeli security forces. Seventeen rioters, including 11 Hamas terrorists, were killed after IDF snipers opened fire on those attacking Israeli soldiers or attempting to scale the security fence into Israel, according to the INN report. The terrorists were known members of of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and global jihad groups
The protest kicked off six weeks of demonstrations against the planned relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem. The protests will culminate in a mass demonstration on May 15th, a day after Israel’s 70th Independence Day and the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.
On Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman toured the Gaza envelope and was briefed on the deployment of IDF forces in the area, as was reported by INN.
“I think that the other side understood that it was not worth its while to continue, and I warn them against the continuation of the provocation,” Liberman said of the mass riots.
“Anyone who comes close to the fence endangers his life and I suggest that the people of Gaza invest their efforts not in protests against Israel, but in changing the leadership within the Strip. The same leadership that instead of focusing on the development of electricity, water and education infrastructure is investing $260 million in terrorist infrastructure, tunneling and manufacturing rockets,” Liberman said.
The defense minister noted that most of the Arabs killed by IDF fire during the riots last Friday were Hamas terrorists. “Most of those killed are terrorists whom we know well, activists in the military wing of Hamas, and also from Islamic Jihad, not innocent civilians who came as part of a civil protest.”
“It was a well-organized provocation by the military wing of Hamas in an attempt to harm our sovereignty, violate our daily routine, disturb the Jewish people on the Seder night which we celebrate with confidence and optimism, and we did what is incumbent upon us … We are not initiating any provocation against the residents of Gaza. We protect our residents, that’s all the difference,” he said.
Meanwhile, dozens of Palestinians engaged in vicious stone throwing at IDF forces along the Gaza border Tuesday afternoon as clashes erupted for the first time since last week’s mass demonstrations. The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza reported that a 25 year old man from Dir al-Balah was shot dead by IDF forces.
Tuesday’s incident followed a warning by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman that Israel has no intention of changing its method of operation in regards to the protestors.
On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan began an acrimonious war of words when he spuriously accused Israel of being a ‘terrorist state’ and called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a ‘terrorist’, after IDF forces opened fire on infiltrators during the Gaza riots on Friday.
That evening, the IDF thwarted an attempted shooting attack by a terror cell in northern Gaza.
The verbal salvo began on Friday when Turkey blasted Israel for its use of what a Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman termed “disproportionate force” against the Hamas-led protest.
“We strongly condemn Israel’s use of disproportionate force against Palestinians during the peaceful protests today in Gaza,” the foreign ministry in Ankara said in a statement quoted by AFP.
On Saturday, Turkish President Erdogan slammed Israel for the “inhumane attack”.
Prime Minister Netanyahu mocked Erdogan in a tweet Sunday, calling Erdogan’s attack an April Fool’s Day joke. “The most moral army in the world will not be lectured to on morality from someone who for years has been bombing civilians indiscriminately,” Netanyahu wrote.
He added, referring to April Fool’s Day: “Apparently this is how they mark April 1 in Ankara.”
Erdogan blasted Netanyahu following the tweet, calling the Israeli premier an “occupier” and a “terrorist”.
“Hey Netanyahu! You are occupier. And it is as an occupier that are you are on those lands. At the same time, you are a terrorist,” Erdogan said in a televised speech in Adana, southern Turkey, as was reported by the AFP.
During his speech, Erdogan also dubbed Israel a “terror state”.
“I do not need to tell the world how cruel the Israeli army is. We can see what this terror state is doing by looking at the situation in Gaza and Jerusalem,” Turkey’s Daily Sabah reported Erdogan as saying.
“Israel has carried out a massacre in Gaza and Netanyahu is a terrorist,” Erdoğan said, according to an INN report.
Israel and Turkey signed a comprehensive reconciliation deal in 2016, ending a six-year diplomatic standoff following a violent encounter between Israeli soldiers and Islamist radicals on a ship attempting to break through the security blockade on Gaza.
However, Turkish officials, and particularly Erdogan, have continued to verbally attack and launch scathing attacks on Israel despite the fact that the agreement was signed.
Last year, Erdogan described Israel as a “terrorist state” that kills children, to which Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu responded, “I am not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villagers in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, who helps Iran go around international sanctions, and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people.”
In December, Turkey’s foreign ministry condemned what it called Israel’s “excessive” and “disproportionate” use of force against Palestinian Arabs who protested the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, according.
IDF and Shin Bet Investigation
An investigation carried out by the IDF and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) has found that at least 11 of the 17 Gazans killed in Friday’s march were terror operatives. The findings came hours after Hamas admitted that five of those killed were members of the terror organization’s military wing.
Those identified as terrorists are: Hamdan Abu Amshe (25) – an active Hamas operative, Ahmad Odeh (19) – a resident of Gaza city and an active member of Hamas’ Shati Battalion, Jihad Frina (35) – a company commander in Hamas’ military wing, Sari Abu Odeh (28) – active operative in Hamas’ Beit Hanoun Battalion, Jihad Zuhier Salman Abu Jamo (30) – active operative in al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, Ebraheem Abu Sha’er (29) – active operative for the Islamic Jihad organization in Gaza, Abed Elraham Abed (20) – active member of Hamas’ military wing Muhammad Abu Amro (27) – active operative of Hamas’ tunnel digging unit, and Muhammad Rahmi (33) – an active Hamas operative.
The tenth terror operative was identified as Mosa’ab Salol (23) – an active member of Hamas’ military wing, who, along with another operative, opened fire on Israeli forces on the border on Friday before being neutralized.
At the end of the first days of the Passover holiday, Israel’s Foreign Minstry said that Hamas holds full responsibility for events during the rioting on Friday.
On Saturday, thousands took part in the funerals of those killed, with clashes on the border resulting in an additional 35 injured Gazans, according to Palestinian reports.
“The fence between Israel and Gaza separates a sovereign state and a terror organization,” the Foreign Ministry said. “ It separates a country which protects its citizens from murderers who send their own people into harm’s way. The fence separates a military that applies force for self defense and in a targeted and proportional manner, and Hamas, which, for years, has been trying to harm millions of Israelis, including yesterday, and which sanctifies murder and death.
Those who wrongfully misconstrue this murderous demonstration for freedom of speech, are blind to the threats with which the State of Israel is dealing with,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wrote a Facebook post Saturday night thanking the IDF soldiers positioned on the border for allowing the citizens of Israeli to celebrate the Passover holiday in peace.
“Well done to our soldiers who are guarding the country’s borders and are allowing the citizens of Israel to celebrate the holiday peacefully. Israel is acting firmly and resolutely to protect its sovereignty and the security of its citizens,” Netanyahu wrote.
By: David Rosenberg