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Armed Palestinian Groups in Gaza Hold Joint Exercise

Twelve armed Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip are holding a joint military exercise on Tuesday. Among the participants are forces representing Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Fatah. Israel’s KAN news outlet reported that the exercise was a show of unity aimed at deterring what the groups call “Israeli aggression,” and was being held at the behest of Iran. The drill included the launching of rockets toward the Mediterranean Sea and drones in Gaza’s airspace. “The occupation leadership must realize that the mere thought of an adventure against our people will be faced with full force and unity, and it will carry many surprises, God willing,” said Islamic Jihad spokesman Abu Hamzah in a speech at the opening of the exercise. He added that the Palestinian leadership in Gaza “will not allow the Zionist enemy to impose rules of engagement that it does not consent to,” and denounced “shame agreements and failed normalization ceremonies” – a reference to Israel’s growing and increasingly public ties with a number of Arab countries.