17,000 teens graduate Hamas military training camp

The training was organized and held by members of Hamas’s armed wing, Izaddin al-Qassam.

Palestinian youths hold weapons during a military-style graduation ceremony.  (photo credit: REUTERS)

Palestinian youths hold weapons during a military-style graduation ceremony. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Jerusalem Post (Jan 30) — Hamas held “graduation ceremonies” on Thursday for 17,000 Palestinian youths who attended its “Vanguards of Liberation” training camps in the Gaza Strip.

During the week-long camps, the youths, aged 15 to 21, underwent military training that included handling different types of weapons, as well as sniping.

The training was organized and held by members of Hamas’s armed wing, Izzadin Kassam.

Hamas said that the youths would form the nucleus of a future “liberation army.”

A spokesman for Izzadin Kassam said during the ceremonies, which were held in Gaza City and Khan Yunis, that the youths were trained to use light and heavy weapons, and that they were taught how to lay in ambush.

“Today, these youths are soldiers in the Gaza Strip,” the spokesman said. “Tomorrow they will liberate the Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem. The Zionist enemy needs to know that we are coming soon to liberate our Aksa Mosque and prisoners.”

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said during the graduation ceremony in Khan Yunis that the “Palestinian resistance was founded to defend Palestinians and the dignity of all Arabs and Muslims.”

The new recruits would operate rockets in the next battle against Israel, he added.

Another Hamas official, Khalil al-Haya, said that the Hamas training camps were aimed at sending a message to the world that the Palestinian “resistance is capable of defending its people against conspiracies.”

Hamas was preparing a new generation of Palestinians for war with Israel, Haya said.

“We raise the new generation on resistance and not security coordination [with Israel].”

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