Hamas’s so-called “military wing”, the Al-Qassam Brigades, on Wednesday held a rally in Gaza marking the one year anniversary of last year’s war with Israel.
Several hundred people crowded into a central Gaza City square after the traditional fast-breaking meal during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan for the rally, according to the AFP news agency.
Members of the Al-Qassam Brigades, with their faces covered with black scarves, stood in front of what appeared to be models of two missiles about three to four meters (9 to 13 feet) in length aboard the bed of a military truck.
Fathers held their children on their shoulders and brigades members lifted their weapons in the air as spokesman Abu Obeida gave a speech, his face covered as usual in a red keffiyeh, according to the report.
Abu Obeida said the two new locally made missiles represented a "qualitative leap" forward, but did not provide details.
Hamas has boasted of its “victory” over Israel during last year’s counter-terrorism Operation Protective Edge, despite the fact that its arsenals were depleted and hundreds of its terrorists fell without scoring major casualties in Israel.
On Tuesday, senior Hamas member Salah al-Arouri said that the "victory of the Palestinian people" in the last military campaign is a true step towards "independence and freedom."
He played down the massive losses suffered by the terrorist organization, saying the strategic achievements of the war will be given expression by the "national liberation" – namely the destruction of Israel and its replacement with "Palestine" – as well as the liberation of jailed terrorists.
Despite Arouri's claims of "victory," Israel in the war eliminated top Hamas leaders including the group's top financial chief Mohammed al-Ghoul, as well as three top commanders of Hamas's "military wing," the Al-Qassam Brigades. It also botched an assassination attempt on Hamas's elusive military chief Mohammed Deif by delaying the strike for a ceasefire; Hamas breached numerous truces in the war.
Arouri, who has organized numerous terror plots in Israel such as last summer's foiled coup attempt against the Palestinian Authority (PA) from Hamas's headquarters in Turkey, said last summer's "victory" is a deterrent against Israeli "aggression."
Since the end of the fighting, Hamas has been busily rebuilding its terror tunnels, siphoning off humanitarian aid materials such as cement to be used in the construction.