29 June 2010
In the Gaza Strip, masked gunmen have set fire to a United Nations-run summer camp for Palestinian children. The attack was the second in several weeks on a 'United Nations Relief and Works Agency' (UNRWA) children’s camp. About 25 vandals tied up the camp guards and set the building and equipment afire, according to media reports. They were apparently opposed to the camps because girls and boys mix during the programs. Hamas reportedly runs its own gender-separate camps where children study the Koran.
The UNRWA runs around 1,200 summer camps for 250,000 children in Gaza. "This is another example of the growing levels of extremism in Gaza and further evidence, if that were needed, of the urgency to change the circumstances on the ground," UNRWA Gaza director John Ging said in a statement. He called the attack a "cowardly and despicable act" and vowed to rebuild.
Another UN-run camp was attacked in May.
Meanwhile, the exiled Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal has repeated his group’s refusal to free the captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, seized four years ago. Meshaal threatened to capture more Israeli soldiers. "Gilad Shalit will not be alone. We will continue to capture soldiers and officers of the enemy until it frees all our prisoners. This is my message," Meshaal said in a speech in Damascus.
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