Hamas holds rare West Bank rally

AFP reports: Thousands of Palestinians attended a rare Hamas rally in the northern West Bank city of Nablus on Thursday, celebrating the group’s “victory” over Israel in Gaza.

The rally is the first time that the West Bank’s ruling Palestinian Authority (PA) — which is dominated by the Fatah faction, Hamas’s bitter rival — has allowed such a gathering since 2007.

It comes as the two movements, which dominate the Palestinian political scene, take tentative steps towards restarting a fraught reconciliation process, which has stalled in the past year.

An AFP correspondent said at least 5,000 people took part in the celebration, which also marked 25 years since the establishment of the Islamist group which rules the Gaza Strip.

Despite an overcast sky, the mood was exuberant, with enthusiastic youths waving the green flag of Hamas as a procession left the city’s Al-Nasser mosque.

“Our message is that Hamas is here, on the ground and in the heart of our people,” Hamas MP Hosni al-Burini told AFP.

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