A BOY WATCHES Hamas members gather in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Yunis earlier this month ahead of commemorations marking the 30th anniversary of the group’s founding..
(photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA / REUTERS)
Hamas’s armed wing, the Izzeldin Kassam Brigades, carried out a military exercise throughout the Gaza Strip on Sunday.
Photos posted on Twitter and Facebook show many members of the Kassam Brigades in the middle of Gaza’s cities, wearing balaclavas and carrying different types of guns.
In a statement on Saturday night, the Kassam Brigades said the exercise would include explosions and gunfire.
A source in Hamas told the Jordanian daily Al-Ghad that the drill is slated to end on Monday morning and a prominent member of Hamas told the newspaper it was meant to “mock defensive action.”
Eyewitnesses told Al-Ghad that the Kassam Brigades test-fired two missiles into the Mediterranean Sea and operated two drones.
The Kassam Brigades members launched the drill on Sunday, just days after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said at a press conference that “Hamas must hand over [to the PA] everything [in Gaza]... including, first and foremost, the security sector.”
Hamas deputy chairman Salah Arouri told Iranian television in October that the Islamist movement will not sacrifice its armed wing’s weapons to advance reconciliation efforts between the two Palestinian organizations.