Palestinians rally in Gaza to honor militants killed by Israel
Gaza, May 19 (EFE).- Thousands of Gaza residents gathered Friday in Gaza City’s Al-Katiba Square for what Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) called a “festival” to commemorate the militants killed in last week’s Israeli offensive.
Six PIJ commanders were among the 33 Palestinians who died in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza over the course of five days.
Civilians, including children, accounted for nearly half the fatalities, while more than 100 other Gaza residents were wounded.
One Israeli citizen and one Palestinian working in Israel died as a result of rocket fire from Gaza during the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) operation, dubbed “Shield and Arrow.”
The IDF said it had struck 371 objectives, including fighters’ homes, launch sites, tunnels, arms factories, and warehouses, and that the PIJ had launched 1,234 rockets and mortar shells in the direction of Israel.
Participants in Friday’s rally displayed photographs of the dead militants and waved flags of the various Palestinian resistance factions.
“This ceremony is aimed at honoring the martyrs and their sacrifices,” the PIJ’s Khamis Al-Haytham said, according to a report from Beirut-based satellite channel Al Mayadeen.
One of the speakers at the event was Randa Musa, wife of PIJ member Khader Adnan, who recently died in an Israeli prison after an 87-day-long hunger strike.
“We remain faithful to the promise,” Musa said, expressing gratitude to the fighters of the Al-Quds Brigades, the PIJ’s armed wing.
The roughly 2 million residents of Gaza have been subject since 2007 to an Israeli land, sea, and air blockade and United Nations officials describe conditions in the territory as a humanitarian disaster.
So far this year, the conflict has claimed the lives of 114 Palestinians, both militants and civilians, including 20 minors.
Nineteen Israelis, three of them minors, have died in Palestinian attacks.