Thousands of Islamic Jihad fighters paraded in Gaza City Friday, in a defiant show of force three days after a ceasefire ending a bloody war between Israel and Gaza militants.
Fighters at the march wore military fatigues and carried assault rifles and other light weaponry, with some holding aloft different types of rockets fired at Israel during the 50-day conflict that ended on Tuesday.
The spokesman for Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, delivered a speech, praising backers Iran, allies Hezbollah and declaring that the group would “redouble efforts” to rearm.
Israel “cannot win in Gaza,” said the spokesman, known as Abu Hamza.
“It is a state ready for extinction and defeat in the face of any army of our ummah (Muslim nation).”
“We confirm the sanctity of the weapon of resistance, and our adherence to it,” Abu Hamza added.
“We have not stopped making weapons, even during the battle, and we will redouble our efforts… to prepare for the next stage, which we hope will be the battle for freedom.”
Israel wants complete demilitarisation of Gaza.
Islamic Jihad and fighters from Hamas, the de facto rulers of Gaza, as well as other Palestinian militants fired a total of more than 4,500 rockets at the Jewish state during the conflict, which erupted on July 8.
Many were intercepted and a large number fell on open ground, but the attacks killed six civilians on the Israeli side.
Sixty-five Israeli soldiers also died in the conflict, during which more than 2,100 Palestinians were killed.
Islamic Jihad also announced Friday that 121 of its fighters died in the conflict, and Israel says it killed at least 900 militants in total.