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memri
August 8, 2016 No.
6560

Al-Quds Intifada Summer Camps In Gaza Offer Training In Stabbing, Firearms, Tunnel Combat

 

On July 16, 2016, Hamas's military wing, the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, launched its annual "Pioneers of Liberation" summer camps in Gaza. This year's camps were dedicated to the "Al-Quds Intifada" (i.e., Jerusalem Intifada), which is the Palestinian name for the wave of attacks against Israelis, especially in Jerusalem, in the past few months. The camps lasted two weeks and were attended by some 30,000 children and youths; activities included firearms training and other military training, civil defense exercises, and lessons in religion and in battle heritage. According to 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam officials, "the goal of the camps is to stoke the embers of jihad among the generation of liberation, to inculcate Islamic values and to prepare the army of victory for liberating Palestine."[1]

The camp activities were documented on special social media accounts and under dedicated hashtags such as #Pioneers-of-Liberation. These accounts feature numerous posts and photos; the faces of the camp organizers and counselors, all of them Al-Qassam fighters, are often blurred to prevent recognition.  


Symbol of one of the "Pioneers of Liberation" camps (Image: Alqassam.ps, July 16, 2016)

 

For a MEMRI TV clip about the camps, click below:

 

The Camps, Named After Terrorists And Stabbing Operations, Included Training With Knives

The names of the camps reflected the "the Al-Quds Intifada" theme: one was called the "Knife Camp," after the stabbings that have been a prominent feature of the current wave of attacks; another was called "Soldiers of Al-Quds," and a third was named after Baha 'Aliyan, a terrorist who participated in a combined stabbing and shooting attack on a Jerusalem bus on October 13, 2015, in which three people were killed and nine were wounded.

 
Children display poster of terrorist Baha 'Aliyan, captioned "The Martyrs Never Die; Their Blood Illuminates the Revolution" (Image: Facebook.com/aqsatvchannel, July 20, 2016)

 


Parade in honor of terrorists who carried out stabbing operations in Al-Quds Intifada (Image: Facebook.com/896180390525345, July 29, 2016) 

 

Camp Slogan: "O Al-Aqsa, We Shall Redeem You With Blood"

According to the Hamas mouthpiece Al-Risalah, the camps' slogans included "O Al-Aqsa, We Shall Redeem You with Blood"; "Free the Prisoners from the Jails," and "Defend the Holy Places." A 19-year-old camper, Ahmad Sami, said that the camp activities included physical fitness exercises and instruction in martial arts and first aid, and added that he had enrolled in the camp because of his "intense desire to join the ranks of the resistance in the future, when he finished his university studies, and to participate in liberating Palestine from the occupation."[2]

As part of the "Al-Quds Intifada" theme, this year's campers received training in the use of knives in addition to firearms training. The following are photos of the camp activities:

Training with knives:[3]

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Training with firearms:[4]

 


(Image: Alresalah.ps, July 18, 2016)

 
(Image: Alresalah.ps, July 18, 2016)

 

 
(Image: Twitter.com/GazaCamps2016, July 20, 2016)

 

Weapons assembly and disassembly:[5]

 

 

Training in tunnels:

 

(Image: Alqassam.ps, July 16, 2016)

 
(Image: Alqassam.ps, July 16, 2016)

 

 
(Image: Twitter.com/GazaCamps2016, July 23, 2016)

 

'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Weapons Exhibition

At one of the camps, the Al-Qassam Brigades held an exhibition open to the public featuring weapons used by Hamas in operations against Israel. The weapons on display included sniper guns, mortars, anti-tank mines, Gaza-manufactured short-range Qassam rockets (types 1, 2 and 3), longer-range rockets (type M75, R160 and J80), and a Hamas-manufactured UAV. Also on display were an Israeli UAV and other Israeli gear and parts of gear that had fallen into Hamas hands. In addition, visitors were also invited to tour a tunnel dug especially for training the campers.[6]

 
  Rockets displayed in the exhibition (Image: Palinfo.com, July 22, 2016)

 


Visitors touring the tunnel (Image: Palinfo.com, July 22, 2016)

 

Hamas Mouthpiece: The Camps Lay The Foundations For Broad Popular Army

Ibrahim Al-Madhoun, a columnist for the Hamas mouthpiece Al-Risalah, wrote: "This is the third year running in which the Al-Qassam Brigades have been calling to participate in the Pioneers of Liberation camps, and the response has been massive... We have a golden opportunity to realize the dreams of this generation to join the training, prepare [for battle] and carry arms, and to imbue [this generation] with national values, engage it in the Palestinian cause and transform its passive [stance] into a proactive one... Resistance is spreading from the elites to the general public, in an attempt to create an entire generation of resistance [fighters] that can defend itself. The camps expand the [circle of] popular involvement in the resistance... The Al-Qassam Brigades are forging the Palestinian people into a solid rank of resistance [fighters] who take part in repelling the enemy, [acting] as a large, unified body... Our Palestinian people are jihad fighters by nature, who rise up and aspire to take part in armed combat. Ever since the Al-Qassam Brigades' quality victory in the Third Gaza War [in July 2014], the public, in and out [of Palestine], has been begging its leadership to [be allowed to] take an active part in the ranks of the resistance. These camps will lay the foundations for building a broad popular army embracing many sectors [of society]."[7]

Hamas officials visited the camps, including Mahmoud Al-Zahhar and Hamas Internal Security Chief Fathi Hamad, who visited one of the camps on July 21.

 
Hamas officials Mahmoud Al-Zahhar and Fathi Hamad visit one of the camps (Image: Twitter.com/GazaCamps2016, July 21, 2016)

 

The Camps' Graduation Ceremonies

The camp's graduation ceremonies included speeches by Hamas officials, as well as displays of the campers' marksmanship, weapons assembly and troop landing skills.[8] The Hamas officials spoke in praise of armed resistance and the war to liberate Palestine, and commended the camps for preparing "the generation of liberation." A recorded speech by Hamas Political Bureau head Khaled Mash'al was played at the graduation ceremony of a camp in Dir Al-Balah on July 22. He said: "Hamas has two main goals: liberating Palestine and resisting the occupation... There is no room in Palestine for the Zionist entity, and the only way to remove it is though armed resistance." Mash'al praised the Al-Qassam Brigades for "preparing the [young] generation by means of the Pioneers of Liberation camps, and [preparing] the steadfast and determined Palestinian people to liberate its land, its prisoners and its holy places, chief of them Al-Aqsa."[9]

Hamas official Ahmad Bahar, deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said at a camp graduation ceremony that "the next war against the occupation will be a war to liberate our cities and villages from which we were expelled. The resistance is preparing the generation that will liberate Jerusalem, the generation of victory that will lead the war to liberate Palestine . The option of resistance is the quickest [way to achieve our goals] and the only [way to] liberate all the occupied lands and free all the prisoners from the jails of the occupation." He too praised the Al-Qassam Brigades for the high quality of training at the camps.[10] 

 

 
From left to right: Mahmoud Al-Zahhar,  Isma'il Haniya and Ahmad Bahar at a camp graduation ceremony (Image: Alqassam.ps, July 23, 2016)

 

 
Camp graduation ceremony (Image: Twitter.com/GazaCamps2016, July 22, 2016)

 

Endnotes:

 

[1] Alqassam.ps, July 16, 2016.

[2] Alresalah.ps, July 18, 2016.

[3] Images: Alresalah.ps, July 18, 2016.

[4] Images: Alresalah.ps, July 18, 2016.

[5] Images: Facebook.com/896180390525345, July 16, 2016.

[6] Palinfo.com, July 22, 2016, Alresalah.ps, July 23, 2016.

[7] Alresalah.ps, July 18, 2016.

[8] Hamas.ps, July 23, 2016.

[9] Hafdnews.ps, July 23, 2016.

[10] Maannews.net, July 23, 2016.