Tens of thousands rally for Islamic Jihad in Gaza

2010-10-29 15:33

Tens of thousands of Palestinians turned out for a rally in the Gaza Strip today

to mark the 23rd anniversary of the founding of the hard-line militant group

Islamic Jihad.

Crowds waving the movement’s black banners filled Kuteiba Square in

Gaza City, where senior officials were expected to speak beneath massive

portraits of assassinated commanders, an AFP correspondent reported.

The armed group, which is smaller and more radical than the

Islamist Hamas movement ruling the territory, carried out several suicide

bombings inside Israel during the 2000-2005 Palestinian uprising.

In more recent years, it was behind many of the near-daily rocket

attacks fired from Gaza that prompted Israel to launch a devastating offensive

against the territory in December 2008.

It has pointedly refused to take part in a Hamas-declared period of

calm since the end of the offensive in January 2009.

The 22-day Israeli operation killed 1 400 Palestinians and

flattened entire neighbourhoods in Gaza. Thirteen Israelis were killed in the

fighting.

Both Islamic Jihad and Hamas are sworn to the destruction of

Israel, but they sometimes differ on tactics.

Since the Gaza war ended, Islamic Jihad has accused Hamas on a

number of occasions of arresting its members and of trying to prevent them from

firing rockets.

 

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