Israel stands accused of massacring “Palestinian civilians exercising their right to peaceful protest” along the Gaza-Israel border this week, but a senior member of Hamas told Palestinian television on Wednesday that 50 of the 62 Palestinians killed in the rioting were members of the terrorist organization.

Salah Al-Bardawil, a member of Hamas’ Politburo, was defending his group against claims that it was reaping the benefits of the border protest campaign while ordinary Palestinians were paying the price.

“People are saying that children are dying and that Hamas is reaping the fruits,” said the interviewer on the Gaza-based Baladna television network.

“In the last round, there were 62 martyrs,” replied Bardawil, citing the same figure that the Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza has given for the number of people killed in clashes along the border on Monday and Tuesday.

“Fifty of the martyrs were from Hamas,” Bardawil continued, “and the other 12 were regular people. So how can anyone claim that Hamas is reaping the fruits, when it paid such a steep price? What did Hamas gain? Fifty martyrs—”

“This figure is—” the interviewer interjected.

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