HAMAS said 50 of the people killed by Israeli forces on the Gaza border this week were its fighters.
The Palestinian organisation named them online, including photographs and details of their ranks within the group.
The Israeli Defence Force seized on the announcement as justification for its response to Monday’s clashes, which was condemned worldwide.
Senior Hamas official Salah Bardawil said 50 of the 62 Palestinians who died were members of the group that rules Gaza. Israeli military spokesman Lt Col Jonathan Conricus said Hamas had ‘set the record straight’, adding: ‘This was no peaceful protest.’
Later, at a briefing organised by the Jewish Federations of North America, he said: ‘Hamas wanted the casualties.
‘Hamas wanted people to die. Hamas wanted the pictures of the wounded and the overflowing hospitals and they had no problems sending the human shields forward.’
Hamas had been calling for people to demonstrate at the border in a bid to break an 11-year blockade by Israel and Egypt. More than 110 people have died and 2,500 have been injured since late March, Palestinian officials said.
An estimated 40,000 Palestinians went to the border on Monday — the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment as a nation state.
The killings took place as Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka was opening the new US embassy in Jerusalem.
■ GUATEMALA has followed the lead of the US and moved its embassy to Jerusalem. The opening — attended by Guatemalan president Jimmy Morales — came just two days after a high-powered US delegation also marked the transfer of its embassy from Tel Aviv. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said Guatemala was a ‘friend’ which had also followed the US to be the second country to recognise Israel 70 years ago.