Gaza’s Hamas rulers hold large military drill amid tensions

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – The Islamic militant group Hamas that rules Gaza has staged a large-scale military drill in the impoverished territory.

Hamas detonated bombs and fired machine guns in the streets in the 24-hour exercise that began Sunday.

The drill comes amid tensions on Gaza’s border with Israel. Hamas is planning a mass protest there on Friday. Hamas is urging Gaza residents to gather near the fence and march toward Israeli positions with the intent of crossing into the Jewish state.

Palestinians have been split since Hamas seized Gaza in 2007, ousting forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who now governs just parts of the West Bank.

Abbas’ government has called on Hamas to disarm and relinquish control of security in Gaza as a condition for Egyptian-mediated reconciliation talks to proceed.

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