Hamas parades mock Gilad Shalit before crowd of thousands in Gaza
Hamas loyalist in IDF uniform begged in Hebrew to be returned home, said 'I miss my mom and dad.'
Hamas paraded a mock-captive Israeli soldier before thousands of supporters during a rally Sunday to celebrate the militant group's 21st anniversary.
The mock-soldier, was dressed in an Israel Defense Forces soldier uniform and stood before the crowd begging in Hebrew to be returned home.
"I miss my Mom and Dad," said a Hamas loyalist, in a clear reference to captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, seized by Hamas-backed Palestinian militants in June 2006. Egyptian-mediated negotiations to exchange Schalit for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners have repeatedly foundered.
"For those who made my children swallow a bitter drink, you will drink from the same cup," intoned a voiceover.
Sunday's rally was another show of strength by the Islamic militants who have ruled Gaza since a violent takeover in June 2007. The arena can hold about 150,000 people and is full, with more people spilling out into the streets. Many Hamas supporters wore baseball caps in the movement's Islamic green.
Thousands of policemen organized traffic on roads decked with green Hamas flags and plainclothes policemen patrolled the area.
Senior Hamas leaders are expected to lay out the future of an Egyptian-mediated truce with Israel and its relations with rival Palestinian group Fatah, which rules the West Bank.