Big rally by Islamic Jihad in Gaza, joined by Hamas
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
GAZA (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of supporters of the militant Islamic Jihad movement rallied in the streets of Gaza on Friday, chanting "Death to America" and "Death to Israel."
Young men and boys wearing white T-shirts with a slogan in the shape of a rifle bore portraits of militants killed in combat, under the black flags of Islamic Jihad.
Ramadan Shallah, the group's exiled chief in Damascus, sent a recorded message marking the anniversary of the assassination of the group's leader Fathi Shiqaqi in Malta in 1995, by presumed Israeli secret agents.
"Israel will not bring peace to the region, it will only bring war and destruction and therefore, the slogan of all should be that Israel must be wiped out of existence," said Shallah, who is on a United States wanted list.
Senior leaders of the ruling Islamist group, Hamas, joined the open-air gathering, the largest for years in honour of Islamic Jihad with up to 100,000 attending according to its organisers.
Hamas allowed the group to use city terrain it usually reserves exclusively for its own rallies, and Hamas forces provided security for the parade by its smaller rival.
"REFERENDUM AGAINST PEACE TALKS"
Islamic Jihad carried out a series of stabbing attacks in the 1980s against Israeli citizens who used to visit the Gaza Strip to purchase cheap goods and later turned to suicide bombings inside the Jewish state. Continued...