Hamas’s deputy leader in the Gaza Strip recently warned that unless Israel provides all medical equipment and aid the terrorist organization demands to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, it will be responsible for the spread of the virus in Gaza.

“The medical means at our disposal to battle coronavirus are insufficient and we must increase the stocks we have,” said Khalil al-Hayya, according to a report on Monday by the London-based Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat. 

Hayya said that mediators are in talks with the Israeli government to get more medical supplies, though the Jewish state has already delivered a large quantity of such supplies to Gaza to help deal with the virus.

“We are keeping the option of using ‘other tools’ if we fail to force Israel to comply with our demands to receive medical equipment that will enable us to deal with the coronavirus crisis,” said Hayya, according to a report by Israel’s Channel 13 on Saturday.

“All options are open to force Israel to allow medical equipment to enter Gaza,” al-Hayya added.

Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Palestinian Territories (COGAT) announced last week that it had transferred an advanced medical device used to detect coronavirus to the Gaza Strip. The device, called a PCR machine, is used for detection of COVID-19, said COGAT on Twitter, adding that it will arrive at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

In recent weeks, COGAT has also donated medical supplies, food, drugs and antiseptics to the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.

There are currently 307 confirmed infections in the West Bank, 13 in Gaza and 111 in eastern Jerusalem, with 71 recoveries and three fatalities, according to Asharq Al-Awsat.

Meanwhile, Hamas faced criticism over its management of the pandemic after Palestinians flocked unhindered to a new shopping mall that opened in Gaza last week, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Palestinians in Gaza told the Post that the scenes at at the mall were not unique. “You can still see many people in other shopping centers in different parts of the Gaza Strip,” said Abdel Karim Mansour, a resident of Shati refugee camp, according to the report.

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