Hamas is planning to open a naval academy soon in the Gaza Strip, Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hammad announced on Sunday.

He said that the new institution, which would be part of the police academy, would be an “extension of all marine sciences which benefit the society in civilian and other affairs.”

This is the first time that Hamas has talked about opening a naval academy in the Gaza Strip. Before the Islamist party seized control over the coastal enclave in 2007, the Palestinian Authority had a small police force in the area.

The Palestinians do not have their own naval force or warships. Israel maintains a naval blockade that extends six nautical miles (11.1 km.) into the Mediterranean for security concerns. Recently, Egyptian forces shot at and wounded two Palestinian fisherman and detained five others, an example of a breakdown of ties between Hamas and the military government of Cairo following the ousting of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Hammad said that Hamas is also planning to build a large prison on a 14 hectare-area in the Gaza Strip. He said the new prison would include rehabilitation and correction centers, as well as various agricultural projects.

The Hamas official said that his ministry would pave the way for inmates to work inside and outside the new prison.

“Our goal is to rehabilitate and correct all inmates so that they would become constructive, rather than destructive, tools for our society,” he explained.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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