Middle East/North Africa

Hamas leader makes first public appearance since conflict with Israel

The top leader of Palestinian militant group Hamas made his first public appearance since the conflict with Israel began.

Dozens of Hamas fighters in military camouflage paraded the streets in Gaza City on Saturday with assault rifles, according to The Associated Press.

Yehiyeh Sinwar, Hamas’s top leader in Gaza, paid his respects at a mourning tent for Bassem Issa, a senior commander who was killed in the fighting.

The move came as Egyptian mediators held talks to firm up the cease-fire, the AP noted.

The agreement, which took effect on Friday at 2 a.m. in Israel (7 p.m. ET on Thursday), ended some of the worst violence in the region since 2014.

Over the course of about 11 days, Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel, and Israel responded with a campaign that devastated Gaza’s infrastructure.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said on Twitter that as of May 21 at 10 p.m., 248 Palestinians were killed, including 66 children, 39 women and 17 elderly due to the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip. A separate 1,948 have been injured.

About a dozen Israelis are believed to have been killed from Hamas’s attacks.

Despite the agreement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that he would continue to use force if Hamas fired rockets following the cease-fire.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that Hamas’s top figures remain targets, the AP noted. Israel bombed Sinwar’s home as well as the homes of other senior Hamas members.

Hamas, for its part, told Reuters that it will abide by the cease-fire.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the coming days to discuss recovery efforts.

Tags Antony Blinken Benjamin Netanyahu Gaza Israel Israel-Hamas conflict Palestine
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