Islamists torch summer camp in Gaza

Ultra-fundamentalist militia claims UNRWA-run camp immoral.

May 23, 2010 15:48
1 minute read.
Islamists torch summer camp in Gaza

gaza summer camp 248.88. (photo credit: AP)


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Masked gunmen from an Islamist group torched a UN-run summer camp for children and teens in Gaza on Sunday, Army Radio reported, the top UN aid official in Gaza said.

John Ging says the assailants tied up the guard early Sunday, burned tents and vandalized bathrooms. UN officials say the attackers left behind three bullets and a note threatening to kill Ging and others unless the UN cancels its activities for some 250,000 Gaza children.

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Two days before the incident, the previously unknown "The Free of the Homeland" group issued a statement criticizing the camp's organizer, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), for "teaching schoolgirls fitness, dancing and immorality."

UNRWA responded to the destruction, saying Gazan youths suffer from heightened stress, and need opportunities like this summer camp, calling the perpetrators of the act, “people who hate life and children.”

Gaza's Hamas rulers have set up rival camps. Some Hamas leaders have also railed against UN camps.

During the past month alone, five Gazans have been executed with formal sanction from the Strip’s Hamas rulers, three of them shot to death in front of the families of their victims just last Tuesday. Their bloodied bodies were then unceremoniously dumped at the local Shifa Hospital.

Hamdi Shakour, of Gaza’s harassed Palestinian Center for Human Rights, was quoted in AP as branding the executions “the worst violation of the right to life.”

The Jerusalem Post reported today that “immoderately” dressed women are frowned upon in today’s Gaza. Strolling with a man or even riding a motorcycle with one’s husband can invite questioning. “Modesty patrols” inspect cars to catch unmarried women with men who aren’t relatives.

The emergence of Islamic despotism in Gaza has been commented on by Arabic publications, including the London-based dailies Al-Hayat and Al-Quds al-Arabi.

AP contributed to this report

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