GAZA CITY- On Wednesday, a senior member of Gaza's rulers Hamas said that most of the 62 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire during border protests and clashes this week were members of the Islamist group.
"The latest round (Monday and Tuesday), 62 people were killed," he told a Palestinian television show.
"Fifty of the martyrs were Hamas and 12 from the people. How can Hamas reap the fruits if it pays such an expensive price?" Questioned about the figures by the presenter, Bardawil said they were "official numbers".
He told AFP Hamas paid for the funerals for all 50 "whether they are members or supporters of Hamas, or unrelated to the factions."
Bassem Naim, another senior Hamas official, declined to confirm or deny the number but said it was a "large movement and has great popular support".
"Take his word for it. This was no peaceful protest," Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus said on Twitter.