Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters on Monday marked the 22nd anniversary of its founding. Hamas' Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, in a long speech, vowed Hamas would never lay down its arms, nor recognize Israel.
"This movement, with the help of the armed factions liberated the Gaza Strip, and we say, brothers and sisters, we will not be satisfied with Gaza," he said. "Hamas looks toward the whole of Palestine, the liberation of the strip is just a step to liberating all of Palestine."
Another senior leader, Mahmud Zahar, hailed Hamas' achievements. "In the 22 years since its founding, Hamas has been able to realise a large part of its goals and to overcome every obstacle it has faced, from prison, exile, assassinations and elections," he said, according to AFP. "Our understanding of the resistance is total, and is not limited to armed conflict," he added.
On his part, Abu Obeida, a spokesman for Hamas' military wing the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, praised the group's military evolution. "We have been able to build an army for resistance and to haunt the Zionist enemy," he said. "(The Qassam Brigades) has manufactured its weapons with its bare hands... including the Qassam rocket, which terrifies the Zionist enemy," Abu Obeida added.