The Israel Defense Forces said two dozen Palestinian terrorists were killed at the Gaza border on Monday, the deadliest day in weeks of violent demonstrations organized by Hamas.
IDF and ISA inquiries reveal that at least 24 terrorists with documented terror backgrounds were killed during the violent riots along the Gaza border on Monday
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) May 15, 2018
“Most were active Hamas terror organization operatives, and some were active operatives of Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” the IDF said wrote Tuesday on Twitter.
Civilian demonstrators in the “March of Return” protests, which have raged for over six weeks, stormed the Israel–Gaza border, throwing rocks at Israeli troops, setting fires, and flying kites with burning fuel into fields near Israeli citizens, lighting farmland on fire.
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, at least 58 Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli soldiers and more than 2,700 were injured on Monday, making it the deadliest day in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict since 2014.
Behind the protests is Hamas, which governs Gaza and is regarded as a terrorist group by the U.S., Israel, and the European Union. The group has encouraged civilians, especially teenagers and children, to approach the Israeli border during the mass protests, according to Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service. Meanwhile, its own members have avoided getting shot by hanging back and waiting for civilians to breach the border, after which they intend to cross and attack Israelis.
Israel said Iran is funding Hamas’s violence at the border, citing information gathered from interrogations.
Saraya al-Quds, the armed wing of the Iran-sponsored Palestinian Islamic Jihad, published pictures of three “heroic martyrs” they said were killed on Monday.
Gaza: First martyrdom pictures coming in, ten killed were members of Hamas’ internal security apparatus. pic.twitter.com/ELm75Tpp25
— Björn Stritzel (@bjoernstritzel) May 15, 2018
Israeli forces reportedly killed at least ten members of Hamas’ internal security apparatus in the clashes. The IDF has also killed or captured several other Hamas members over the course of the protests.
Israeli forces reported three separate incidents Monday in which Palestinians opened fire on the border. Several of the terrorists killed were trying to plant explosives on the border, as well, Israel said.
The Israeli army reported it has conducted seven strikes on Hamas military targets in response to the attempted border breaches.
The IDF “will continue to prevent mass terror attacks, which have largely been orchestrated by the Hamas terror organization,” it said in a statement. “All terror activity will be met with a harsh response. IDF troops will continue to defend Israel and its civilians.”