Tens of thousands of supporters of Hamas gathered in the early hours of Sunday morning (13th December) for the Islamic resistance Movement's 22nd anniversary festival. Held at Kateeba Yard, west of Gaza City, the festival saw participants arrive and fill the venue hours before the scheduled start of the programme. Many of those taking part came on foot, and included men, women and children of all ages, some with special needs. Palestinian flags and Hamas banners were prominent amongst the crowds.
This festival is the first of its kind to be held after Israel's bombardment and invasion of Gaza earlier this year; it is significant, perhaps, that the bombardment started just 13 days after the 21st anniversary festival commemorating the movement's inception.
Observers had predicted a high attendance, especially due to the fact that Hamas saw itself as the overall winner of the Israeli war against the beleaguered Gaza Strip. It is no surprise, therefore, that the theme of this year's festival was "Al-furqan" – The Victory.