Israeli sources: Palestinian ‘journalist’ killed on Gaza border was Hamas operative

A Palestinian killed on the border with Israel was a Hamas intelligence officer, not a journalist as previously claimed. 

By: World Israel News Staff

The Palestinian journalist killed on Friday on the border with Israel was in fact a Hamas intelligence officer, Israel’s Walla News reported, citing unnamed Israeli security personnel.

The video of Yasser Murtaja, 30, being shot and killed at the border fence on Friday went viral, sparking widespread condemnation of Israel. At the time, international media reported that Murtaja was a journalist covering the day’s protests. In fact, it appears that he was an active member of Hamas’ internal security service.

“We are dealing with someone who was active in the security apparatus’s work on a daily basis and did much to help them,” the source said.

Speaking to Israel Radio on Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said that “there are no innocent people in the Gaza Strip [border area]. There are no protesters there. Hamas has [in the past] used both journalists and ambulances to carry out terror attacks dozens of times. Whoever flies a drone over IDF forces – we will not take a chance. We warned everyone in advance. We issued warnings in Arabic, Hebrew and English. Whoever endangers his life does so knowingly.”

The IDF said it fired only at “instigators” involved in attacks on soldiers and was investigating Murtaja’s death. “The IDF uses means such as warnings, riot dispersal means, and as a last resort firing live rounds in a precise, measured way.”

Israel has pointed out that Hamas is exploiting the mass marches on its southern border as a cover for attacking the border fence, and has vowed to prevent a breach at all costs. The IDF said that on Friday protesters hurled several explosive devices and firebombs, using the smoke from burning tires to cover failed attempts to breach the fence.