Hamas leader Ismail Haniya addresses a rally in Gaza City on Sunday. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto

In a speech to tens of thousands of Palestinians on Sunday after recent deadly attacks against Israelis, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya praised “resistance” in the occupied West Bank.

Haniya made the comments at a rally in Gaza City marking the 31st anniversary of the founding of the Palestinian Islamist movement.

“We place our hopes in the West Bank, which is the main area where events are occurring and the most appropriate area to resolve the conflict with our Zionist enemy,” he told the Hamas flag-waving crowd.

“The West Bank has shaken and stood up with glory, strength and skill, as if it wanted to say to our people on the occasion of this glorious anniversary that it was with the resistance, in total harmony.”

Members of Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, participated in the rally wearing camouflage dress and brandishing rifles.

Hamas controls the Gaza Strip but also has a presence in the West Bank, where its rivals from Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah are based.

Palestinian militants in Gaza, including Hamas, have fought three wars with Israel since 2008.

The group has claimed two recent deadly shootings in the West Bank, which has seen an upsurge in violence over the past week.

– with reporting by Agence France-Presse