Photo Credit: IDF via Ofir Gendelman / Twitter
Gazans swarm in attempt to break through security fence while creating a diversion along border with Israel, driven by Hamas, April 6 2018

Yasser Murtaja, the Palestinian Authority photographer shot dead during violence along the Gaza border last Friday, was a Hamas operative who was on the organization’s payroll, security sources said on Tuesday.

Murtaja was an officer with the rank of major in Hamas’ security apparatus, the sources told the Hebrew-language Walla! news outlet, adding that he had attempted to smuggle drones into Gaza in order to collect intelligence for Hamas. The sources noted that senior Hamas military officials attended his funeral.


Murtaja was cofounder of Ain Media, a company that provided media services, including drone photography.

Following the revelations, David Keyes, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s spokesperson to foreign media, tweeted, “Turns out the ‘photographer’ killed in Gaza was an officer in Hamas, a terrorist org that seeks Israel‘s destruction. On Hamas’ payroll since 2011. Used his drone to collect intel on Israeli positions. Countless reporters called him a “journalist.” Will they correct the record?”

Following Murtaja’s death, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said he had been flying a drone over IDF soldiers during the protest.

“I don’t know who is or isn’t a photographer. Anyone who operates drones above IDF soldiers needs to understand he’s putting himself in danger,” Liberman said. “We’ve seen dozens of cases where Hamas terrorists used ambulances, dressed up as Red Crescent personnel and disguised themselves as journalists. We won’t take any chances.”

The IDF has said only that it is investigating the case.


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