Tens of thousands of Palestinians have gathered in Gaza City for a rally marking the 31st anniversary of the militant Hamas group’s establishment.

Masked gunmen of the al-Qassam brigades, the military wing of Hamas, raise their hands as they stand in front of a huge poster showing a mock attack on a bus, during a mass rally marking the 31st anniversary of the founding of Hamas, an Islamic political party, that currently rules in Gaza, Sunday, Dec. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Masked gunmen of the al-Qassam brigades, the military wing of Hamas, raise their hands as they stand in front of a huge poster showing a mock attack on a bus, during a mass rally marking the 31st anniversary of the founding of Hamas, an Islamic political party, that currently rules in Gaza, Sunday, Dec. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Hamas fighters in military fatigues paraded with rockets and heavy machineguns during Sunday’s rally. The Islamist group said the large turnout reflects widespread support despite domestic and external challenges.

Women photograph take a selfie during a Hamas mass Rally marking the 31 anniversary of its founding, in Gaza City Sunday, Dec. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Women photograph take a selfie during a Hamas mass Rally marking the 31 anniversary of its founding, in Gaza City Sunday, Dec. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, flashes the victory sign before giving a speech during a mass rally marking the 31st anniversary of the founding of Hamas, an Islamic political party, which has an armed wing of the same name, that currently rules in Gaza, Sunday, Dec. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, flashes the victory sign before giving a speech during a mass rally marking the 31st anniversary of the founding of Hamas, an Islamic political party, which has an armed wing of the same name, that currently rules in Gaza, Sunday, Dec. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Gaza has been under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas took power in 2007.

Supporters attend a mass rally marking the 31st anniversary of the founding of Hamas, an Islamic political party, which has an armed wing of the same name, that currently rules in Gaza, Sunday, Dec. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Supporters attend a mass rally marking the 31st anniversary of the founding of Hamas, an Islamic political party, which has an armed wing of the same name, that currently rules in Gaza, Sunday, Dec. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinians sit in a tree to view a mass rally marking the 31st anniversary of the founding of Hamas, an Islamic political party, which has an armed wing of the same name, that currently rules in Gaza, Sunday, Dec. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinians sit in a tree to view a mass rally marking the 31st anniversary of the founding of Hamas, an Islamic political party, which has an armed wing of the same name, that currently rules in Gaza, Sunday, Dec. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh praised a recent series of deadly attacks against Israel in the West Bank, which is controlled by the Palestinian Authority. He said such attacks are “a response” to the anticipated American peace proposal that Palestinians believe will favor Israel.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, greets supporters during a mass rally marking the 31st anniversary of the founding of Hamas, an Islamic political party, which has an armed wing of the same name, that currently rules in Gaza, Sunday, Dec. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, greets supporters during a mass rally marking the 31st anniversary of the founding of Hamas, an Islamic political party, which has an armed wing of the same name, that currently rules in Gaza, Sunday, Dec. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Haniyeh also called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to meet in Gaza or Cairo to end a decade of inter-Palestinian division.

Source: The Associated Press

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