Hamas fighters (representative image) Photograph:( Reuters )
Holding weapons, the masked members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed branch of Hamas, the Islamist group that runs Gaza, paraded through the southern city, AFP reporters said
Thousands of Hamas fighters held a military parade Friday in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, a week after a ceasefire with Israel took effect in the devastated coastal enclave.
Holding weapons, the masked members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed branch of Hamas, the Islamist group that runs Gaza, paraded through the southern city, AFP reporters said.
Riding pick-up trucks, the fighters showed off a military arsenal including rocket launchers and a drone as groups of people, including women and children, cheered them on.
An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that went into force on last Friday has so far held, ending 11 days of devastating Israeli bombardment of Gaza and rocket fire into Israel from the coastal strip that started on May 10.
Israeli strikes on Gaza killed 248 Palestinians, including 66 children, and have wounded more than 1,900 people, the Gaza health ministry says.
Rockets and other fire from Gaza claimed 12 lives in Israel, including one child and an Arab-Israeli teenager, an Israeli soldier, one Indian, and two Thai nationals, medics say. Some 357 people in Israel were wounded.
There is controversy about how many of those killed in Gaza were combatants, and how many were civilians.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel's bombing campaign had killed 'more than 200 terrorists' in Gaza, which Hamas has controlled since 2007.
But both sides claimed victory after the ceasefire went into force.
Hamas has held several post-ceasefire rallies across the devastated Gaza Strip, including one on Thursday in Khan Yunis and also in the south of the Israeli-blockaded territory.