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."
Ramadan Shallah, the group's exiled chief, currently residing 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 honor of Islamic Jihad with up to 100,000 attending according to its organizers.
Islamic Jihad officials said Friday's turnout was a "referendum by the Palestinian people rejecting peace-making with Israel."
"There is only the choice of Jihad and nothing else ... There is no more room to make bets, on the Americans or anyone else," said Hayya.