Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups announced on Monday afternoon that they have begun retaliating for Sunday night’s incident in Khan Yunis by firing dozens of projectiles and mortars at Israeli communities adjacent to the border with the Gaza Strip.
“The Zionist enemy bears full responsibility for this insidious aggression and its repercussions,” said a statement issued by the so-called Joint Command of the Palestinian Resistance Factions. “The resistance is capable of reining in the enemy and preserving the integrity of the martyrs and avenging their blood.”
According to the statement, the Palestinian “resistance” managed to “defeat” the IDF elite unit
that was operating in Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip, forcing the soldiers to retreat in a humiliating way.
Sources in the Gaza Strip said seven Palestinians were killed in the clash with the IDF soldiers on Sunday night. One of them was identified as Sheikh Nur Baraka, a senior Hamas military commander in the Khan Yunis area.
On Monday, thousands of Palestinians attended the funeral of the seven victims, amid chants calling for launching retaliatory attacks on Israel.
Hamas’s military wing, the Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades, said that a special Israeli force using a civilian car infiltrated the area east of Khan Yunis late Sunday and assassinated Baraka.
In a statement, the Brigades said that its men spotted the soldiers and engaged in a firefight with them. It said that while fleeing the area under aircraft bombings, several others Palestinians were killed.
The statement claimed that the Qassam members succeeded in thwarting a major IDF operation that was aimed at dealing a “harsh blow to the Palestinian resistance inside the Gaza Strip.” However, it did not provide further details about the alleged operation.
It said that the IDF operation was designed to “create confusion, surprise the Palestinian resistance groups and score a quantitative achievement.” Israel, the statement added, “bears full responsibility for this crime and its repercussions.”
Several Hamas officials praised the members of their military wing who clashed with the IDF unit and vowed to avenge the death of the seven Palestinians.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum described the response of the Brigades’ members as “heroic.” The Palestinian groups, he added, will continue to “confront any Zionist attempt to target our people and their resistance.”
Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the second largest terrorist group in the Gaza Strip, also praised Hamas for reportedly thwarting the IDF elite unit’s operation. He said that his group and other terrorist factions will respond to the IDF operation.
In Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority condemned what it termed the “ugly crime perpetrated by the Israeli occupation army” east of Khan Yunis. The PA Foreign Ministry said that what happened in the Gaza Strip on Sunday night was a “clear aggression in violation of international law.”
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