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Hamas Summer Camp Offers Tunnel Warfare instead of Football

Although the story about Hamas’ summer camp in the Gaza Strip — where thousands of young Palestinians are schooled in methods of warfare instead of enjoying sports as in more traditional summer camps – is reported every year at this time, the 2016 edition is a bit different due to this year’s emphasis on tunnel warfare. Palestinians between the ages of 15 and 20 are spending the summer in training despite the criticism of local and international human rights groups. Exercises stressed include the use of tunnels for the launching of armed attacks on Israeli military posts and the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. Hamas’s so-called “military arm” which runs the summer camp program said this summer some 30,000 young Palestinians will be “trained in basic fighting techniques.” The Palestinian organization Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights issued a statement condemning the camps and the military training of youth. In part, it said that, “Children are meant to have fun and learn to develop their thinking. They must absolutely be kept away from violence and anything that may disrupt their childhood.”