The head of terror group Hamas in Gaza has warned Israel if more ventilators for coronavirus patients were not brought into the Palestinian enclave, which it controls, then Hamas will “take them by force.”
“If ventilators are not brought into [Gaza], we’ll take them by force from Israel and stop the breathing of 6 million Israelis,” said Yahya Sinwar, according to Hebrew media reports.
This is despite the Israeli government having coordinated the delivery of hundreds of coronavirus testing kits by the World Health Organization, as well as protective equipment, medicine and disinfectant. Israel has also been providing training for Palestinian healthcare workers.
Gaza had confirmed 12 coronavirus infections as of Tuesday. Their condition was “stable and reassuring,” said the Hamas-run health ministry.
The terror chief highlighted Hamas’s efforts to contain the virus outbreak in Gaza, saying, “When we decided to establish compulsory quarantine facilities for people returning to Gaza, we knew that it would be a difficult decision that would cause a lot of criticism against us.”
“It’s our first line of defense. We can’t allow the epidemic into Gaza,” Sinwar said, according to Channel 12.
Yesterday, a large shipment of medical equipment and medicine for the Palestinian healthcare system was transferred from Jordan via the Allenby Bridge with COGAT's coordination. The shipment included hundreds of swabs, #COVIDー19 testing kits & medicine. pic.twitter.com/7RMYl7OZio
— COGAT (@cogatonline) April 1, 2020
He accused Israel of not allowing medicines into Gaza, saying he wouldn’t return Israeli soldiers’ bodies until medical supplies came in.
Sinwar, who is heading Hamas’s response to the pandemic, made the comments via remote video chat to television and the terror group’s digital platforms. The address appeared to be his first public statement on the outbreak.