For the first time, the armed wing of Hamas, the Islamist rulers of Gaza, decided to publicly showcase their weapons. This event attracted hundreds of Palestinians, including children who excitedly posed for selfies while holding rocket launchers.
Members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades were at an exhibition in Gaza City’s Unknown Soldier’s Square, wearing black balaclavas and tactical camouflage suits. They were seen mingling with young men and women.
Resistance is something that we perceive and remember. The group has invited people to take souvenir photos with many of Al-Qassam’s weapons. They made this announcement through social media and posters in mosques.
This was the first event where Hamas allowed the public to take photos of weapons.
This comes after a recent increase in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where 16 Palestinians and four Israelis lost their lives in the occupied West Bank during a six-day period in late June.
During the month of May, there were clashes between militant groups in Gaza and Israel. These exchanges of fire lasted for five days and resulted in the loss of lives. Tragically, 34 Palestinians were killed, including six commanders from the Islamic Jihad, fighters from other Palestinian armed groups, and even innocent civilians, including children. A woman from Israel has passed away.
In Gaza City on Friday, Hamas showcased a variety of weapons, including locally made missiles, “Shihab” drones, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and Russian-manufactured “Kornet” missiles.
There are exhibitions planned for Saturday in the northern and central areas of the Gaza Strip. These locations are usually off-limits for people to approach or take pictures of military sites.
According to an AFP correspondent, there was a banner at the entrance of the Gaza City exhibition that warmly greeted visitors, including families and children who had come to attend.
There were many members of the Al-Qassam Brigades present, all wearing uniforms.
A young boy dressed in military attire and wearing a green Brigades headband posed for the cameras with a smile, while a man supported a rocket launcher on his shoulder. The boy seemed proud of his involvement in the resistance.
There was another person who was in charge of operating an anti-aircraft gun while some young men stood in front of a display of rockets on stands.
Abu Mohammed Abu Shakian, a resident of Gaza, expressed that he brought his family along to take photos with the weapons and instill a sense of resilience in their children.
Shahadeh Dalou, who attended the exhibition with his children, expressed that it was encouraging and gave him hope that the liberation of our land is approaching.
Bassam Darwish, who is 58 years old, mentioned that people were eager to express their support for the Al-Qassam Brigades.
The United States, Australia, Britain, Israel, and the European Union consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization.
The Al-Qassam exhibition has made everyone happy and proud. “We’re here because we take pride in our resistance,” he said.
There are approximately 2.3 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, a region that has been facing economic challenges due to an Israeli-led blockade since Hamas took control in 2007.
Israel and Palestinian militant groups in Gaza have engaged in multiple conflicts since then.