The Palestinian militant group Hamas marked the one-year anniversary of the Israeli military incursion into Gaza by blasting air raid sirens, observers said.
But only about 3,000 Hamas members turned out Sunday for a commemoration of the losses suffered in Operation Cast Lead, which began Dec. 27, 2008, the Voice of America reported.
Instead, VOA said, the Palestinian public mainly ignored the event, walking down streets and speeding by in cars as usual.
Operation Cast Lead killed 1,400 Palestinians, Hamas says, while 13 Israeli soldiers also died. Israeli leaders say it was an exercise in self defense after enduring years of rocket attacks launched from Gaza while Hamas and United Nations observers contend Israel committed war crimes in the incursion.
VOA said the fighting left Gaza even poorer than it was before, as buildings destroyed in the attack remain rubble due to the economic blockade Jerusalem has imposed on the Palestinian enclave since Hamas gained control in 2007. VOA said Israel bans the importation of concrete into Gaza for fear Hamas will use it to build a military infrastructure.
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