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Hamas blames Israel for coronavirus outbreak in Gaza

Spokesman says Israel does not address humanitarian needs of Gaza residents

Mohammad Abu Don   | 03.04.2020
Hamas blames Israel for coronavirus outbreak in Gaza

GAZA CITY, Palestine

The Hamas movement said on Friday that Israel alone bares the responsibility for the repercussions of coronavirus outbreak in Gaza due to the blockade and restrictions imposed.

"Israel does not address any of the humanitarian needs of the residents of Gaza, and by tightening its blockade, it is committing a systematic crime against them," Hamas spokesman Hazim Qasim said.

He commented on the recent statement by Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett, who conditioned the provision of assistance and aid to Gaza to fight coronavirus with the recovery of Israeli soldiers in Hamas captivity, saying "it is an inhumane" demand.

He confirmed that the Israeli soldiers' case is a separate issue and can be only solved via prisoner swap deal.

On April 2016, Hamas' armed wing, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, for the first time revealed that it has in its captivity four Israeli soldiers, without giving any detail on their health conditions or their names except for revealing the name of soldier Shaol Aron.

Qasim also confirmed that Hamas along with all Palestinian groups will continue the struggle until the blockade on Gaza ends.

As of Friday, 12 cases of coronavirus infections were reported in Gaza, according to health authorities.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara.

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