Palestinian militant group Hamas has admitted to kidnapping three Israeli teens that sparked the conflict in Gaza.
A senior Hamas official says the kidnappings were intended to spur on a new Palestinian uprising. The kidnappings of the three teens while they were hitchhiking on June 12, along with the discovery of their bodies two weeks later, sparked a broad Israeli crackdown on Hamas members throughout the West Bank.
CCTV America’s Noor Harazeen reports from Gaza city.
Hamas admits kidnapping Israeli teensPalestinian militant group Hamas has admitted to kidnapping three Israeli teens that sparked the conflict in Gaza. A Hamas official says the kidnappings were intended to spur on a new Palestinian uprising.
The al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement that three of its senior commanders– Muhammad Abu Shammala, Raed al-Attar and Muhammad Barhoom– were killed in the al-Sultan neighborhood of Rafah.
Israeli air raid kills 3 Hamas military commandersThe al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement that three of its senior commanders-- Muhammad Abu Shammala, Raed al-Attar and Muhammad Barhoom-- were killed in the al-Sultan neighborhood of Rafah.
Abu Shammala was the general commander of the al-Qassam Brigades in the southern Gaza Strip and Raed al-Attar was the commander of the Rafah district. The two Hamas officials were on Israel’s most wanted list, with both men accused of masterminding the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006.
Hamas officials say the deaths will not weaken their cause.
“If Israel managed to kill a leader, dozen others will be born. They call them terrorist but in fact they are resistance fighters fighting for the dignity and the freedom of Palestine. Today most of the headlines will be about Hamas’s leaders killed and the other story is that over that 6 other children were killed today too, may their souls rest in peace.” – Fawzi Barhoom, Hamas Official
On the streets of Gaza, there was anger. Tens of thousands of Palestinians marched at the commanders’ funeral, some firing weapons into the air and nearly all calling for revenge. The al-Qassam Brigades, the militant wing of Hamas, stated that they will be taking revenge for their leaders, firing more rockets towards Israel.
Al-Qassam also issued a specific warning to foreign airlines: to stop flying planes into Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport. This implied that rocket attacks would follow. A 6am Thursday deadline passed without incident and all flights continued on schedule.
While al-Qassam has vowed not to return to any peace talks in Cairo, Egypt has pledged to continue contact with all sides. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas traveled to Doha Thursday to discuss the Gaza conflict with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and the Emir of Qatar.
PJ Crowley is the former spokesperson of the U.S. State Department under the Obama administration.