Hamas to Escalate Nighttime Riots and Weekend Protests Along Gaza Border

Officials announce move after Egyptian security delegation says Israel unable to meet the organizations' demands ■ Organizers of weekly border demonstrations urge more Gazans to participate

Palestinian demonstrators run away from Israeli fire and tear gas during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip February 15, 2019.
Reuters

Hamas officials announced Monday that the organization is planning on increasing nighttime activities on the border, in addition to ramping up the tension in the weekly "Great March of Return" protests.

This comes after Egyptian security officials who visited the Gaza Strip told Hamas that Israel is unable to meet Hamas' demands for calm.

Hamas' main goal is a significant easing of Israel's blockade on Gaza. Last week, a Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine official in Gaza told Haaretz that Israel is willing to make certain concessions, but Hamas' activity on the border will not stop until an agreement has been reached.  

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The committee organizing the weekly demonstration along the border also released an announcement Monday calling for young people in the Strip to come out in droves and participate in the protests, including those planned for Friday. 

Hamas' decision comes after significant escalation between Israel and Gaza in past weeks, including the launch of two missiles from Gaza at Tel Aviv on Thursday, which Hamas says was an accident. In response, the Israeli military struck some 100 Hamas targets in the Strip.

Hamas is also facing Palestinians who are protesting the economic situation in Gaza, detaining hundreds and violently suppressing the "Revolt of the Hungry" with live fire, clubs and other means.   

Hamas' nighttime demonstrations are led by a special, more experienced unit within the organization, and are significantly more violent than the usual Gaza border protests.

Hamas operatives play a rocket siren over loudspeakers to terrorize the nearby civilian communities in Israel, burn tires to produce a smokescreen and throw explosives over the border.

Two weeks ago, a 15-year-old boy participating in the nighttime riots was killed by Israeli soldiers during the clashes.

In February, the first incendiary balloon since November was launched from the Gaza Strip, a few days after Hamas re-approved the tactic due to stalled talks with Israel. It caused a small fire in the Kissufim Forest near the border, which was put out quickly. The Israeli military struck Hamas and Islamic Jihad positions in early March after more incendiary balloons were launched into Israel.