In a televised statement, Hamas ministry spokesman Taher Nunu called al-Maqdessi's group "outlaws" and said they have been "terrorizing the country and attacking civilians."
"We hold the group and its leader fully responsible for what is happening in Gaza and we offer our condolences to everyone who was killed during the clashes," Nunu said. "No one is above the law and we urge everyone who is a member of this group to surrender himself to the authorities or they will be accountable for all of their actions."
Of course, I too extend my condolences to the civilians caught up in this strife. But part of me wonders if, even a little bit, this experience gives Hamas an inkling that urban warfare operations against entrenched terrorist outfits are really difficult and lend themselves to civilian casualties, even if you don't want them to. Of course, we have no idea how Hamas conducted this operations and what safeguards, if any, it took to safeguard civilian lives. As I wrote in the immediate aftermath of Cast Lead, few people possess the factual information necessary to make a considered and accurate judgment on who is "at fault" for civilian deaths in any given armed clash, which counsels humility and forbearance of judgment. That holds true here, too.
Another part of me, however, just wants to shout WAR CRIMES TARGETING CIVILIANS MASS MURDER MASSACRE GENOCIDE SAVAGES BLOOD-SOAKED ILLEGITIMATE REGIME. But that's a part of me that I try to repress as much as possible.
* Actually I have no idea, but that accusation is typically leveled and accepted with little to no evidence whatsoever, so hey, why not. (Obviously, that statement and this footnote offered in the same spirit as the final paragraph of the post).
UPDATE: Latest reports say six of the 24 killed were unarmed civilians, with 125 injured (no word on their affiliation).