MidEast

Hamas Training Tens of Thousands of Child Soldiers

Among the classic, repeated Hamas slogans is the one in which the group’s fighters declare that that they “love death” more than their declared Israeli enemies “love life.” The Iran-backed terror organization has gone to enormous lengths to brainwash Palestinian children with that ideology.

Reports began to emerge early this year of deepening Hamas efforts to establish schools to train teenagers as combatants. More details emerged late last week of the latest efforts, which involve training 37,000 teens aged 15-17 in urban warfare:

“The youth can join military wings of factions, they don’t need military training at school,” Hamas program director Mohammed Siyam said.

The training program began in September 2012 in schools throughout the Gaza Strip amid preparations for a war with Israel. The program included weekly lessons on weapons fire, rocket-propelled grenade launcher as well as urban warfare.

The students deemed highly competent were invited to a Hamas military camp operated by Kassam officers. In March 2013, Hamas hosted 5,000 teenagers for the two-week military course that included a mock attack on an Israel Army outpost.

Summer camps of this sort have been in existence for more than a decade, and have been met with an ebb and flow of international outrage. In 2008 the Associated Press ran a photo of a Palestinian girl holding a homemade model of a rocket during an Islamic Jihad rally in Gaza City:

Sugar, spice, missile

Hamas’s determined use of child soldiers complicates the efforts of watchdog groups to assess the group’s conflicts with Israel. Human rights groups have  been criticized for inflating Palestinian civilian deaths by calculating teenage male combatants as civilian deaths, despite Hamas’s open training of teenagers for combat and the group’s boasts that it uses children as jihadists.

[Photo: MediaWatch8 / YouTube]