Hamas official: 50 of those killed on border Monday were our people
Senior Hamas operative Salah Bardawil tells Palestinian media that vast majority of 61 protesters killed Monday belonged to terror group; IDF tank opens fire at Hamas outpost in retaliation to prior fire at Israeli force; army thinning out reinforcements near border as riots seem to wind down.
Sixty-one people were killed in Monday's riots, with more than 1,200 wounded. While calm was achieved—purportedly with Egyptian mediation—thereafter, Hamas fired on an IDF force Wednesday, prompting the army to retaliate with tank fire at a Hamas outpost in the northern strip.
The Israeli force suffered no casualties.
Moreover, and in light of the calm achieved in the area, the IDF has decided to thin out some of the reinforcements it had brought in to assist the Gaza Division this past week.
Israeli assessments now say border confrontations will decrease over the coming days, but smaller reinforcements will nevertheless remain near the border throughout the weekend.
Earlier Wednesday, it was revealed that Hamas refused to allow two IDF Technological and Logistics Directorate trucks bearing hundreds of lifesaving medical equipment items to enter Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing.
The trucks thus returned to Israel, while six other trucks with similar medical equipment sent by UNICEF (the United Nations Children's Fund) and the Palestinian Authority were allowed to enter.
The Israeli medical equipment was intended to assist hospitals in the strip—caught wholly unprepared to handle the throngs of people being brought in from the riots—to cope with the situation.
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit communicated Tuesday that a joint investigation by the IDF and the Shin Bet turned up that at least 24 of the 61 Palestinians killed Monday in the Gaza border riots were terrorists affiliated mostly with the Hamas terrorist organization, with some being members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
A Palestinian man aged 51 was killed by IDF fire in riots on the border Tuesday, in an incident east of al-Bureij in the north-central Gaza Strip. In addition, suspects who attempted to infiltrate Israel under the riots' cover were arrested.
The suspects were under surveillance by security forces throughout their attempt and were arrested when they drew near the fence. They were taken in for questioning.
IDF disputes Palestinian claim that 8 month old baby was killed in riotsPalestinians also initially reported that among those killed Monday was an eight month old baby, who died of inhaling tear gas during the confrontations.
The IDF's Arabic-language spokesman, Maj. Avichay Adraee, wrote on Twitter that "there's fundamental doubt as to the credibility of the Hamas health ministry's statement about the death of the baby in the Gaza Strip as a result of the inhalation of tear gas. We have several testimonies questioning the veracity of that statement."
In contrast to the mass riots that took place Monday, during which multiple attempts to break through the fence were made, Tuesday only some some 400 Palestinians protested in six places around the Gaza border.
In the West Bank, meanwhile, some 1,300 Palestinians clashed with IDF forces in 18 conflagration zones, including in Hebron, near Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem, outside Ramallah, at the Qalandiya checkpoint and in the Nablus area. Rioters threw stones, burned tires and lobbed Molotov cocktails at security forces.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.