Hamas is recruiting for its version of summer recreation for children, teens and young adults – terror training. Girls are also welcome to participate.
Summer camps for youngsters are being kicked off around the globe. In Gaza, a camp run by Hamas offers a special terrorist training program, which includes military exercises, the use of weapons, and learning how to abduct Israeli soldiers.
The Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, is preparing to launch its summer camps, which indoctrinate thousands of Gaza youth every summer.
The ultimate objective of these summer camps, besides training and indoctrination, is to act as an auxiliary force in a future confrontation with Israel.
Registration for the camps, labeled “The Liberation Pioneers,” is carried out by Al-Qassam Brigades activists in mosques and central locations in Gaza strip cities, MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) reports.
They are devoting massive resources towards their recruiting for the camp’s third session, and to this end they have launched a widespread campaign to promote the camps on social networks, on Hamas and Al-Qassam Brigades websites, at special events in public places frequented by youths and at mosques, and especially at this time, during the Muslim month of Ramadan.
“The camps are divided into four groups: ages 15-17, 18-25, 25 and over, and another for graduates of previous [camp] sessions,” Hamas’ daily Filastin announced. Nonetheless, as MEMRI reveals, “though Hamas officially declared the camps open to youths 15 and over, there is a visible presence of children younger than 15 at the registration points and the mosques where registration is taking place.”
The Al-Qassam Brigades stressed that the camps aim to “create a nucleus for the future liberation project” and will include “sermons, displays of courage, training in military skills, live fire exercises, field training, civil defense classes and first aid.”
For the first time since Hamas launched the Liberation Pioneers camps, its leadership has promised that there will also be a special camps for girls, according to MEMRI. The media watchdog quoted Hamas spokesman Mushir Al-Masri, who stated: “This year will include military training for girls, in which they will carry weapons. This is not limited to men only.”
Camp registration points have sprung up throughout the Gaza Strip, especially in mosques.
Photos in Gaza media and social networks show youths flocking to sign up.
“A website associated with Fatah condemned the use of mosques to recruit children,” MEMRI reports, “stating that ‘many Palestinians in Gaza criticized the transformation of mosques into registration points for Hamas camps, accusing the movement of exploiting places of worship to attract and recruit youths and of benefiting from the increased presence [of children] at Ramadan prayers. Since its establishment, Hamas has used mosques as a contact point with residents.'”
The graduation ceremonies from these summer program include the use of live ammunition, explosions, and staged abduction of Israeli soldiers.
One of the participants, a 12-year-old boy, told an AFP correspondent at one of the previous ceremonies that he was delighted to be part of a terror organization. “Today I fired my first bullet and my blood is boiling in my veins. I will not rest until I have seen battle,” he enthused.
By: Max Gelber, United with Israel
With files from MEMRI
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