Hamas stages military exercises to test Gaza readiness
(MENAFN- The Peninsula) REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE: Hamas operatives inside an underground tunnel in Gaza on August 18 2014. Reuters
Gaza City Palestinian Territories: Hamas staged major military exercises Tuesday to test its readiness in the event of another Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip which has been ravaged by three wars since 2008.
The exercises involving 1000 police and emergency services personnel were not meant to be seen as an "announcement of war" said a spokesman for the Islamist movement's interior ministry.
For the duration of the exercises however a state of emergency was observed in Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya bordering Israel in the north and Jabalia farther to the south.
The media was barred from approaching the area but loud explosions could be heard from a distance with hospitals and schools placed on alert.
Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip have fought three wars since 2008 including a devastating 50-day conflict in 2014.
The Palestinian enclave remains under an Israeli blockade.