Gaza militants hold parade after latest battle with Israel
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Dozens of Islamic Jihad militants displayed life-sized replicas of their rockets during a parade in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, in a show of defiance after three days of heavy fighting with Israel earlier this month.
The flare-up left 49 Palestinians dead, including the militant group’s top two commanders and 10 other fighters, before an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire took effect. The militants fired some 1,100 rockets, but no one on the Israeli side was killed or seriously wounded.
It was the deadliest exchange of fire since last year’s war between Israel and Hamas, the militant group that has ruled Gaza for the last 15 years — and which did not take part in the latest fighting.
The militants drove pick-up trucks with different sizes of rocket replicas and posters of their slain commanders. People lined the streets, throwing flowers.
Israel and Western countries consider both Hamas and Islamic Jihad to be terrorist groups because they have carried out scores of deadly attacks over the years targeting Israeli civilians.
Many Palestinians view the militants as freedom fighters resisting Israel’s 55-year military occupation of lands the Palestinians want for their future state.