Gaza City: Thousands of Hamas fighters held a military parade in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday, a week after the ceasefire with Israel took effect in the damaged coastal enclave.
Holding weapons, the masked members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed branch of Hamas — the Islamist group that runs Gaza — paraded through the southern city, AFP reporters said.
Fighters rode trucks, cheering to a group of people including women and children, and displayed a military arsenal of rocket launchers and drones.
The Egyptian brokerage ceasefire that took effect as of last Friday has been held so far, ending the Israeli bombing of Gaza and the 11 days of launching rockets to Israel from the coastal strip starting on May 10.
Israeli strikes on Gaza killed 248 Palestinians, including 66 children, and have wounded more than 1,900 people, the Gaza health ministry says.
Rockets and other fire from Gaza claimed 12 lives in Israel, including one child and an Arab-Israeli teenager, an Israeli soldier, one Indian, and two Thai nationals, medics say. Some 357 people in Israel were wounded.
There is controversy about how many of those killed in Gaza were combatants, and how many were civilians.
Israel s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel s bombing campaign had killed “more than 200 terrorists” in Gaza, which Hamas has controlled since 2007.
However, both sides demanded victory after the ceasefire took effect.
Hamas held several post-ceasefire rallies in the devastating Gaza Strip, including one Thursday in Khan Younis and south of Israel’s blockade of territories.