June 20, 2018

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06-May-18: Explosive weekend in Gaza

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Shortly after Saturday’s explosion [Image Source]

The terrorists of Hamas are expressing fury over two fatal Gaza events involving their agents in the past 24 hours.

Just before 3 this afternoon (Sunday), reports emerged of another infiltration attempt by armed and hostile Gazan Arabs into Israel. An IDF statement issued shortly afterwards, quoted by Times of Israel, said:

“A short while ago an IDF unit opened fire at three terrorists who tried to cross the security barrier from the southern Strip toward [Israeli] territory, and to damage security infrastructure in the area of the fence… Two of the terrorists were killed.”

There is confirmation from Hamas’ Ministry of Health in Gaza – the highly problematic sole source of all reports about Palestinian Arab casualties in the course of the current Gaza Riots battles – that two Palestinians had been killed. At this stage, there does not seem to be any public information about the fate of the third thwarted infiltrator.

Yesterday (Saturday), there was a powerful explosion – whose cause is still the subject of back-and-forth contention – in the central Gaza Strip area:

Gaza’s health ministry confirmed six people were killed on Saturday’s explosion, with three others wounded in what residents said appeared to be an accidental explosion in the Zawayda area of the central Gaza Strip. The health ministry said the explosion may have been caused by the handling of explosives. In the past some explosions in the Gaza Strip have resulted from the accidental detonation of explosive materials belonging to militant groups. However a statement from the Palestinian Islamist group’s armed wing insisted that the incident was a “deplorable Zionist crime”. The Ezzedine Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Gaza’s rulers, said the fatalities were members of their group and blamed Israel for the explosion but did not provide details or proof. The incident occurred during a “complex security and intelligence operation”, the group said in a statement, calling it “serious and large security incident” and blaming the “Zionist enemy”. The statement added that it was a “serious crime against our fighters”. [Six members of Hamas military wing killed in Gaza explosion“, The National, May 6, 2018]

The video clip below, embedded in a Tweet [here]. captures some of the drama: 

A BBC report [Gaza explosion leaves six Palestinians dead“, BBC, May 5, 2018] said

The Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, military wing of the Hamas militant group, blamed Israel, but the Israeli military said it was not involved. A Palestinian source quoted by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz said that the victims appeared to be members of Hamas… It is not clear what caused the blast in Deir al-Balah… The explosion could have been caused by the handling of explosives inside a building, the source added… Following Saturday’s explosion, TV images showed a pillar of smoke rising near the coast. “The IDF (Israel Defence Force) is not involved in this incident in any way,” an Israeli military spokesman said. Correspondents say explosions in Gaza in the past have been caused by Israeli air strikes, by feuding between Palestinian factions or by the mishandling of explosives by militant groups.

Whatever the cause, the dead have been claimed with certainty by Hamas. All six are said – by the terrorist organization – to be from its Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the so-called armed wing of Hamas. 
But to judge from how their images are being marketed in Palestinian Arab society today, there’s some difference of opinion whether to have them viewed as (in our words) peaceful, rights-seeking ordinary protesters, as Palestine Chronicle appeared to be presenting them in this image posted a few hours ago [here]
Image Source
The accompanying text gives their untimely demise this context: “Saturday’s blast follows
weeks of protests along the Israeli-Gaza border as part of the Great March of Return movement
.”
Or instead – the very same six as fierce warriors, heroes of their people and, as the Palestinian Information Center website terms them, “martyrs” of the notorious al-Qassam Brigades terrorist section of Hamas. 
Image Source: Palestinian Information Center website
The PIC report has this to say in support of its version:
Hundreds of Palestinians marched on Sunday in Gaza provinces for the funerals of six martyrs of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas movement. Al-Qassam Brigades said in a brief statement on Saturday evening that six of its fighters were killed during a “complex security operation” in al-Zawaideh town in the central Gaza Strip. Further details on the incident will be revealed later, the statement noted.

It gives the names of the dead terrorists as Mahmoud al-Ostaz, Wesam Abu Mahrouk, Taher Shahin, Mousa Salman, Mahmoud al-Tawashi, and Mahmoud al-Qishawi.
Times of Israel says Hamas, naturally enough, 

blamed Israel for the explosion, without providing details or proof. Palestinian media, by contrast, said it was a “work accident” — that is, that the terrorists were killed by their own explosives.

As we often do, we will go with the Palestinian Arab version – the one quoted in that last paragraph. Keep in mind that generally we don’t get to see news reports in which Hamas owns up to its freshly deceased martyrs having been interrupted with extreme prejudice by the Israelis while they, the “resistance” fighters, were busy preparing themselves to do terrorism. Mostly we need to figure that out between the lines.

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