Last Monday, 13,000 young people officially graduated from Hamas’ youth paramilitary camps – more than twice the number of participants who graduated from last year’s program.
Hamas’ government had something to celebrate this week – 13,000 graduates from the Hamas youth paramilitary camps, designed to encourage Gazan teens “to follow in the footsteps of the suicide martyrs.”
Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of Hamas, congratulated the participants at the graduation ceremony. “This is a generation which knows no fear. It is the generation of the missile, the tunnel and suicide operations,” he said.
Campers participated in weapons training and marching exercises, and learned how to identify Israeli spies. According to one of the instructors,in addition to rifles, students we’re also trained in the use of machine guns and RPGs
Along with a large increase in enrollment, this year’s Futuwwa program saw the inclusion of women. According to Haniyeh, female trainers were part of the Futuwwa program this year “to oversee the training of the young women to follow in the footsteps of the female suicide operatives.”
Fathi Hamad, Hamas minister of the interior, said that the students participating in the camps will have “the main role in liberating Al-Aqsa mosque from the pollution of the occupation.” Hamad added that the program was needed in order to prepare the youth to participate in “the liberation of Ashdod, Yavne, Jaffa, Acre, Lod, Ramla and all the villages in Palestine,” i.e., Israel.
The Futtuwa program has three primary parts:
1) Weekly military studies taught to students throughout the school year on school campuses. Teachers of military studies include operatives of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades (Hamas military-terrorist wing) and Hamas security force personnel.
2) Intensive training camps, which last for around for six days. The training camps are held during school vacations, and sometimes on the school grounds.
3) Actual participation in military activities, including student participation in the operational activity of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, such as night patrols, security missions and manning roadblocks.
Reviews from participants
One member of the al-Qassam Brigades said, “We target the students to create future soldiers and leaders who can defend their cause and appreciate the value of resistance.”
A student, Mohammed Abu Nar, referred to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem at the graduation ceremony. “We are the pioneers of liberation, we are coming to purify you from the Zionists,” he said.
Mohammed Ghanem, 15, another graduate the program, is preparing for the next round of confrontation against Israel. “By then, I should be ready and know how to use an Israeli soldier’s gun when I pick it up from the ground,” he said. If the Israelis do not make another incursion into Gaza, he said, “we will go to fight them on the border.”