Israel has reportedly warned Hamas that it will resume assassinations of its leaders if violent protests on the Gaza border continue.
“If the protests continue, the assassinations will return,” Hadashot news quoted security officials as saying in a message sent to Hamas via Egypt.
The report came as Hamas called for an armed uprising against Israel to avenge the deaths of over 50 demonstrators and some 2,000 wounded in clashes with the IDF on Monday.
Ten of the terror group’s members were killed in Monday’s violence, including a son of its co-founder Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, according to the report.
Earlier in the day, the IDF official spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis termed the staged demonstrations unprecedented, but still disappointingly far from Hamas’s own expectations.
“This is unprecedented in terms of the level of violence, compared to previous weeks,” said Manelis; but they failed to bring the 100,000 protesters they had hoped for. An estimated 45,000 to 50,000 showed up at the border.
Manelis said Hamas used both bribery and coercion to get Gazans to the border. They offered “$100 per family that comes,” and threatened people by accusing them of being “collaborators” if they did not attend the protests.
Despite all that, Manelis said, “Hamas failed.”
Military officials said they were prepared for the protests to carry on into the night. Accordingly, soldiers on the border were issued night-vision equipment, and the military had flares ready to illuminate the area to deny terrorist infiltrators the cover of darkness.
Manelis said the IDF was expecting protests to continue on Tuesday and possibly for several days thereafter.