VIDEO - Ahmed Hilles, head of the Fatah-affiliated clan, told Ynet on Sunday morning that Hamas
started the recent infighting in Gaza "because it doesn’t want to see such a big and strong family like mine."
Video courtesy of infolive.tv
The clan was involved Saturday in a deadly day of battle
with Hamas' security forces in the Gaza City neighborhood of Sajaiyeh.
Some of the family members, however, appeared to be insecure and terrified of a possible return to the Strip.
Early Sunday morning, the Israel Defense Forces began returning
the dozens of Fatah members who escaped from Gaza on Saturday back to the Strip, despite an earlier agreement between Israel
and the Palestinian Authority that the men would be transferred to the West Bank.
Hamas sources told Ynet that some of the group members were arrested upon their return.
"As far as I am concerned, I'm going back to the Strip from here, but the issues and circumstances are not only controlled by me," Ahmed Hilles told Ynet. "I am with the Israelis and don't know what will be decided yet, but as far as we are concerned, we are headed to the Strip.
"We won't give up on our people in the Strip. Hamas knows it will pay a price for the blood spilt, and therefore it is doing everything in order to disrupt any possibility of a dialogue. Hamas has removed itself from the circle of national Palestinian organizations with its violent approach which spills the Palestinian people's blood."
At least 11 people were killed in the clashes and another 88 were injured. Many of the clan members escaped to the Nahal Oz crossing in the evening hours, for fear they would be punished by Hamas members.
After 180 of them laid down their weapons, Israel allowed them to enter, and 22 of them were taken to Israeli hospitals.
Hilles was injured in his leg when Hamas members arrived at his home. "In the evening hours, Hamas arrived at the place where the entire clan lives. All the family members tried to protect themselves with the weapons we own. Each person was on the lookout at their own house, but Hamas kept on sending out more and more forces."
Hamas gunmen near Hilles clan's compund, Saturday (Photo: AP)
According to Hilles, after realizing that the Hamas men plan to kill all the clan members, he and his family members decided to flee towards Israel. "Instead of evacuating our injured, they used the ambulances in order to lead additional soldiers to the area."
Hilles added that his youngest son was arrested by Hamas and that his older son probably managed to escape into Israel.
Amegdat Hilles, 31, the father of three, was moderately injured in the clashes. He says Hamas members began attacking the clan's closed and partly fortified compound at around 5 pm on Saturday.
"They fired at us with guns, mortar shells and RPG. I was injured during the first hour and began bleeding, but prevented the ambulances from reaching us.
"Only five hours later I managed to reach the fence after we decided that we must escape to that direction. We moved 300 meters forward towards Israel, when the Israeli army fired at us and injured two more people. We saw that we could not reach the fence, so we spoke to Ramallah and waited four hours until they let us in.
"Not all of our family belongs to Fatah. Some are Islamic Jihad members and some are unaffiliated with any organization. What happened yesterday is simply revenge," said Hilles, adding that his wife and children remained in Gaza.
"I don’t think I'll return to Gaza in the near future. If I return, I die. In the meantime I'm here and I hope it will be okay. We may be transferred to the West Bank," he said.
Atef Hilles, the father of three who was also moderately injured, said, "I was injured when the clashes began. I tried to reach the hospital in Gaza, but they told us the road was closed and prevented our ambulances from travelling there. My brother drove me to the terminal, where I waited until they let us in.
"I don’t think I'll return to Gaza. If they tell us, we'll return of course. But that would be a death sentence for me."
Four of the Gazan refugees are still hospitalized at the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, one in serious condition, one in moderate condition and two in light condition. Eleven were hospitalized in the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, most of them in light condition.
Dr. Ron Lobel, Barzilai's deputy director-general, said that "three of the injured underwent surgery yesterday, and the rest will be operated on throughout the day. One is in the Intensive Care Unit in serious but stable condition, and the rest are suffering from shrapnel injuries and fractures."
Yonat Atlas, Shmulik Hadad and Ali Waked contributed to this report