On Tuesday, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and smaller Gaza factions held joint military drills, during which several rockets were fired towards the sea.
“We will not accept the aggression of the enemy against our people, and our weapons are ready. We are prepared to enter any confrontation imposed upon us at any time and place,” a masked spokesperson for the so-called Chamber of Joint Factions told reporters at a press conference.
Hamas, who have ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, closed down major routes through Gaza City to allow the drills to take place.
In videos which have emerged online, missiles can be seen flying out of Gaza City, supposedly towards the sea. It was reported that eight missiles were fired in total.
Drones were also launched to fly along the strip and can be seen hovering in the background of a makeshift press briefing location.
“Even the announcement of the drill itself is a clear message to the Zionist enemy,” said Haytham Abu al-Ghazlan, a spokesperson for Islamic Jihad, in an interview with local media.
Further drills are expected to take place throughout Tuesday.
The drills will include land and coastal exercises, in what the groups describe as a test of their preparedness for future conflict with Israel.
Israeli media claim the drills have been organized by Tehran, a sponsor of Hamas, to demonstrate the retaliatory threat Iran poses if provoked by the US.
On Monday, a large portrait of Iranian military commander General Qassem Soleimani was erected on Gaza’s main coastal road. Soleimani was killed last January in a US attack in Iraq.
On Saturday, Israeli jets hit sites in Gaza after rockets fired by militants were incepted by Israel’s air defenses.
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