By Ramzi Mahmoud
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – Hundreds of people in Gaza took part in a cycling race Wednesday organized by the Palestinian Cycling Federation in an effort to create a mental release for young people in the city after the recent Israeli aggression.
The race was launched along Al-Rasheed Street with the participation of hundreds of young men and girls of various age groups and a number of amputees who had lost their limbs in accidents or due to Israeli bombings.
The Amputee Cyclers Committee, represented by a team of dozens of young amputees, participated in organizing the race with the aim of "reintegrating people with disabilities into society and helping them return to their normal lives before amputation."
In an interview with Anadolu Agency, the deputy head of the Palestinian Cycling Federation, Saeed Tamraz, said the race represents the first activity of the federation and comes as a starting signal for the athletes’ cycling season, which will continue this summer.
Tamraz explained that one of the goals of the race is to carry out a recreational activity and psychological release for young people, especially after the latest Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip in May.
"In addition to being a sport, cycling is a means of entertainment and competition, and through the race, we wanted to create a psychological release for young people from what they suffered during the Israeli war about a month and a half ago," he said.
He pointed to the participation of a number of professional cyclists in the race as well as amateurs and amputees.
"Our goal is to convey the message after the aggression that the Gaza Strip is still alive at all levels — sportingly, socially and economically."
From May 10-21, Israel launched airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, killing and wounding thousands of Palestinians, while Palestinian factions responded by firing thousands of missiles towards Israeli cities.
At least 260 Palestinians were killed and thousands injured.
It came against the backdrop of an Israeli court decision to evict Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem.
Thirteen Israelis were killed by Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.
The violence ended under an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire that took effect on May 21.
*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat