Posted August 23, 2014 by VOA News in Commentary and News

Hamas Leader: ‘We Killed Israeli Teens to Spark Uprising’

Hamas has claimed responsibility for kidnapping and killing three Israeli teenagers in June – the incident that led to the current war in Gaza.

Hamas leader Saleh Arouri told a conference in Turkey Friday that the group’s military wing carried out the operation with the goal of starting an uprising.

Speaking in Arabic at the International Union for Muslim Scholars in Istanbul, Arouri said Hamas aimed to “ignite an intifada” by Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem. He said that effort “reached a peak in the heroic operation that the Al-Qassam Brigades carried out by capturing the three settlers in Hebron.”

Al-Qassam Brigades is Hamas’ military wing. Until Arouri’s comments Friday, Hamas had not said directly that it staged the kidnapping and killing of the three young Israelis.

Hamas Leader: 'We Killed Three Israeli Teens to Spark Uprising'

Hamas has claimed responsibility for kidnapping and killing three Israeli teenagers in June – the incident that led to the current war in Gaza.

In Israeli, government spokesman Mark Regev says the Hamas leader has shown his group has “no qualms whatsoever about targeting innocent civilians.” He urged the international community to condemn Hamas as strongly as it has denounced the Islamic State group, which he described as Hamas’ “sister terrorist movement.”

The Hamas leader’s remarks in Turkey came as violence flared in the Gaza Strip Friday: 18 Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel were shot to death. Hamas declined to identify the victims.

The Gaza executions followed a day of Israeli airstrikes that killed three senior Hamas commanders and at least three other people in the town of Rafah. Israel said it was retaliating for rockets fired into Israel by Hamas since the expiration of a temporary cease-fire this week and the collapse of peace talks in Cairo.

Clashes also have erupted in the West Bank, where Palestinians demonstrated to protest against Israel’s military action in Gaza.

U.N. diplomats say the United States and European nations are working on a Security Council resolution in the hope of ending fighting in the Gaza Strip. Proposed language of the resolution is said to call for an immediate end to Hamas rocket attacks and to Israeli military operations. Fighting between the two sides has killed over 2,050 Palestinians and 67 Israelis in the past six weeks.

The document also calls for lifting the long-standing Israeli blockade of Gaza, opening all border crossings into the coastal enclave, and returning the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority to control there. An international monitoring mechanism would be established in order to verify those steps, as well as to ensure the flow of goods entering Gaza does not include weapons or tunnel-building materials for Hamas.