Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, has commended the West Bank for its “resistance” in the face of Israeli occupation, as thousands of Palestinians marched in the Gaza Strip to express their support for the movement on its 31st anniversary.
“We place our hopes in the West Bank, which is the main area where events are occurring and the most appropriate area to resolve the conflict with our Zionist enemy,” Haniyeh told the massive crowd, who waived green Hamas flags on Sunday.
“The West Bank has shaken and stood up with glory, strength and skill, as if it wanted to say to our people on the occasion of this glorious anniversary that it was with the resistance, in total harmony.”
Also present during the celebrations were Hamas’ armed wing, the Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, which showcased various military vehicles and weapons.
Haniyeh affirmed that al-Qassam Brigades had succeeded in obtaining accurate information about the recent Israeli operation that was carried out by Israeli special forces in Khan Younis, describing the security assets it had obtained as priceless and useful in managing “the brain warfare” against the occupation in the next stage.
Undercover Israeli special forces infiltrated into the territory in a civilian car near Khan Yunis, opening fire and killing local commander Noor Baraka when they were discovered.
The unit was chased by Hamas fighters who killed a ranking Israeli officer. Israel then launched dozens of airstrikes on Gaza, drawing Hamas retaliation. During a two-day flare-up, more than 500 rockets were fired at Israel, forcing Tel Aviv to accept a hasty declaration of a ceasefire.
Haniyeh noted that the latest round of confrontation between the Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza and the Israeli occupation army was a turning point in the management of the military confrontation with the Israeli side.
He added that during the recent escalation of tension, al-Qassam Brigades and other resistance groups unveiled only a small part of their military capability when they responded to Israel’s bombing of civilian facilities and homes.
Hamas was established in 1987 soon after the first Palestinian Intifada or uprising broke out against the Israeli occupation. The movement has been administering Gaza since 2007 when it scored a surprise parliamentary victory.
The resistance group also maintains a large presence in the West Bank, which is home to Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement.
The Gaza Strip has been under an inhumane Israeli siege since 2007 and witnessed three wars since 2008. The blockade has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and poverty.
Haniyeh’s remarks came weeks after a surge in tensions between Hamas and Israeli military forces.
Last month, Undercover Israeli Special Forces infiltrated the territory in a civilian car near Khan Yunis, opening fire and killing local commander Noor Baraka when they were discovered.
The unit was chased by Hamas fighters who killed a ranking Israeli officer. Israel then launched dozens of airstrikes on Gaza, drawing Hamas’ retaliation. During a two-day flare-up, more than 500 rockets were fired at Israel, forcing Tel Aviv to accept a hasty declaration of a ceasefire.
Hamas has also claimed a series of attacks against Israeli military forces since then, which were carried out in response to regular attacks on Palestinians.
The latest attack came on Thursday, when two soldiers were shot dead at a central West Bank bus station near a settlement.