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Diana Alghoul

Hamas defiant after Israel strikes Gaza amid escalating tensions

Israel struck Hamas targets in Gaza early Wednesday [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 April, 2018

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The Israeli army conducted airstrikes on Hamas bases in Gaza after an explosive device was detonated by the border
The Israeli military said it struck several Hamas targets in Gaza early Wednesday after claiming a bomb planted on the border exploded near Israeli troops.

The military says the explosive device, which exploded near an Israeli bulldozer, was placed along the border fence area during protests that have been taking place there.

No one was wounded by the bomb, and there were no immediately reports on casualties from the airstrikes.

Hamas responded saying Israel’s bombardment of the besieged enclave reflects Israel’s “anxiety and hysteria.”

“The Zionist bombardment of Gaza's resistance positions reflects the anxiety and hysteria of the Zionist entity as a result of the mass involvement in the marches which call for the Palestinian right to return," the Palestinian group tweeted.

Hamas urged Israel’s attacks will not deter Palestinians from protesting, and that it will remain the "guarantor of the resistance against the occupation.”

Hamas said Israel's attacks on its military bases "strengthens Palestinian resistance".

Translation: These strikes will only make the Palestinian people stronger and more steadfast in confronting the occupier, with us clutching onto our rights and breaking the siege. No matter what the sacrifices, Hamas will remain the guarantor of the resistance against the occupation and the protector of the Palestinian people.

This comes after a senior cleric accused Hamas of sensationalising the deaths of Palestinians, bringing the Gaza massacre into the dispute between the two political parties.

Mahmoud al-Habbash, an adviser on religious affairs to the Palestinian presidency, slammed Hamas over the peaceful Great Return March.

"The Palestinian people do not care for the selling of illusions and emotional triggers," al-Habbash said  in a Friday sermon.

He claimed Hamas was "selling illusions", and "trading in suffering and blood, trading in victims" for sensationalist purposes.

Israel attacks Palestinian protests

Israel has been under fire for killing 31 unarmed protesters in the besieged Gaza Strip, including a journalist, after Palestinians marched for their right to return.

Attacks on the besieged enclave have escalated since then, aiming at both civilian and Hamas targets.

The Great Return March protests began late last month and included cultural events such as traditional Palestinian dabka dancing for the thousands of families, women and children attending. It turned deadly after Israeli soldiers opened fire on protesters. 

The march is specifically important to 1.3 million of the besieged enclave's population because they are families of refugees who fled to Gaza during the mass expulsion of Palestinians during Israel's establishment in 1948.

Israel's violent response drew widespread condemnation and calls for an independent investigation from the European Union and Guterres.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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