Hamas Summer Camp Wants To ‘Ignite’ The Spirit Of Jihad

The military summer camps, for kids 15 and up, will be attended by as many as 40,000 people, according to reports

Jun 21, 2016 at 12:47 PM ET

It’s officially summer. For some teenagers in Gaza, that means packing their bags and heading off to summer camp—not to learn crafting or sailing, but military skills, under the guidance of Hamas.

According to Palestinian media in Gaza, more than 40,000 people will take part in the camps this summer. They’re dubbed the “Vanguards of Liberation,” and the youngest campers are 15. Palestinian social media accounts affiliated with the group uploaded images, purportedly showing Palestinian teens waiting in lines to register themselves in front of masked Hamas fighters.

The camps are hosted by Ezz al-Din al-Qassam, the military wing of Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip. According to the Hamas’ official site, the camps’ aim is to “ignite the ember of Jihad among the generation of liberation, sowing Islamic values and preparing the army of victory to liberate Palestine with the permission of God.”

The group says that the camps will take place in Hamas training facilities across Gaza, and will include “military training and skills, shooting firearms and civil defense skills.” The participants will be divided into four groups, the youngest for ages 15 to 17.

Accounts affiliated with Hamas posted images showing Hamas’ leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, visiting the campspraising the campers, because “the love of Jihad dwells in their hearts at such a young age.”

Hamas’ military wing also posted a video promoting the camp, on the organization’s official YouTube account:

Reports by Palestinian media organizations affiliated with Hamas also posted some pictures of the campers: