Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) — Hamas marked 24 years since its founding as an Islamic movement dedicated to fighting for Palestinian independence, while the group’s armed wing said it killed 1,365 Israelis in that period.
More than 100,000 Hamas supporters gathered today in Gaza City’s al-Katiba park, where they celebrated the anniversary with balloons and flags in green, the group’s color, as bands performed tributes to the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen. The movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, is considered a terrorist group by Israel, the U.S. and the European Union.
“Hamas has combined governing with resistance” against Israel, Musher al-Masri, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, told the crowd. “We are closer to victory and to the liberation of Palestine.”
The armed wing of Hamas, known as the Ezzedeen al-Qassam Brigades, issued a statement in which it said 1,848 of its fighters have been killed by Israel and its members have killed 1,365 Israelis since the group’s founding on Dec. 14, 1987.
Hamas militants have carried out 1,117 attacks against Israel, including 87 suicide bombings, and have launched 11,093 rockets at Israeli targets, according to the e-mailed statement.
Israel condemned Hamas for celebrating the violence, without confirming the number of attacks and victims.
“The fact that Hamas is an unrepentant, murderous terror organization should come as a surprise to no one,” Mark Regev, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said in a telephone interview.