Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said Friday that, when he had served as defense minister, more than 300 Hamas fighters had been killed “in only three and a half minutes”, according to Israeli media reports.
“When I was defense minister, more than 300 Hamas members were killed in only three and a half minutes in a single attack carried out by the [Israeli] air forces,” Israeli daily Maariv quoted Barak as saying.
He did not say when the carnage took place, but according to Palestinian medical sources, more than 225 Palestinians were killed -- including women and children -- when Israel shelled a Gaza police compound in December of 2008.
Barak went on to assert that he had been involved in another operation in which a Hamas military commander was killed.
Here he was referring to an operation in late 2012 in which Hamas Deputy Chief-of-Staff Ahmad Jaabri was killed in Gaza.
It was the first time for Barak, who served as defense minister from 2007 to 2013, to take responsibility for the two operations.
Barak, who also served as prime minister from 1999 to 2001, also criticized the current government’s handling of the situation in Gaza, saying: “Hamas must be hit hard, but the government should first develop a strategy.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Barak added, “has repeatedly capitulated to Hamas because he does not have a strategy”.
The former defense minister went on to say that the current government “acts like it wants to strengthen Hamas, not weaken it”.