The Hamas terrorist organization on Monday held a large rally in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip to mark its 34th anniversary. The event was used to celebrate the release from Israeli prison of Sheikh Raed Salah, who heads the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel.
Salah was jailed for incitement to terrorism and served a 16-month prison sentence.
Salah has been arrested by Israel several times in the past on charges of incitement. The radical cleric served a nine-month jail sentence after being convicted of encouraging violent attacks and inciting racism in a 2007 sermon.
He has in the past labeled Israeli leaders “terrorists” and “enemies of Allah” in a speech to Muslims in Be’er Sheva, and was also jailed for five months in 2010 for spitting at an Israeli police officer.
The Israeli government outlawed the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, which Salah heads, in November of 2015.
At Monday’s rally, participants waved official Hamas posters showing pictures of Salah and Fadi Abu Shahidam who recently carried out the deadly shooting attack in the Old City of Jerusalem.
A senior member of Hamas said in a speech at the event that Hamas continues to gain strength and strengthen its military capabilities along with the development of political and popular activity.
Hamas, added the senior official, puts the lifting of the siege over the Gaza Strip at the top of its list of priorities and intends to achieve this goal at all costs.