The Palestinian militant group Hamas has canceled plans for its anniversary rally over fears of an Israeli attack.

Thousands of Hamas supporters had been expected to join the rally Friday to mark the 17th anniversary of the founding of the movement.

A Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri said the rally at a Gaza City sports stadium has been canceled because of renewed concern about the safety of Hamas leaders - particularly after Sunday's attack on an Israeli military post in Gaza that killed five soldiers.

Israel has assassinated Hamas founder and his successor in separate air strikes earlier this year. Israel also killed more than a dozen Hamas fighters when it bombed a soccer field where the militants were training.