At Least 16 Dead in Hamas-Led Gaza Riots
At least 16 people – 10 of whom have been identified as terrorists – were killed in riots along the border between Gaza and Israel on Mar. 30.
Around 30,000 Palestinians protested along the border as part of “the March of Return” to protest the displaced Arabs from Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. Anarchy ensued when some protestors began burning tires, hurling rocks at Israel Defense Force (IDF) soldiers and attempted to weaken and penetrate the border fence.
Consequently, the IDF designated the area as “a closed military zone” and clamped down on the rioters. The Palestinian health ministry is claiming that over 1,400 Palestinians were injured in the riots, but the IDF is pushing back by saying that the number of injured Palestinians is overstated since most were simply rattled by the riot control measures taken by the IDF.
Among the 16 dead, the IDF has identified 10 of them who were involved in terror organizations. Eight of the identified terrorists were a part of Hamas, one was involved in Islamic Jihad and the other was part of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades. Hamas has already begun celebrating the killed terrorists.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the IDF for their actions.
“Israel acts vigorously and with determination to protect its sovereignty and the security of its citizens,” Netanyahu said.
The violence on the border has declined significantly since, but Friday’s riots could be a precursor to something larger. According to CBN News, the “March of Return” is part of a six-week campaign involving Hamas using civilians as shields to breach the border and start another war with Israel.
“The immediate objective of the prospective fence-stormers is not so much to kill Israelis (though if that can be achieved, even better), but to get killed themselves,” Bar-Ilan University Prof. Hillel Frisch wrote in the The Begin Sadat-Center for Strategic Studies. “Their hope is that Israel will resort to force to maintain the border (as would any sovereign state) and thereby create the graphics and funerals that delegitimize Israel.”
Frish added that Hamas is hoping that Israel taking such action will result in another intifada from Palestinians in the West Banks and Arabs residing in Israel.