|Poster announcing the camps |
January 10, 2015)
Special Dispatch No.5951..
03 February '15..
On January 20-27, 2015, Hamas's military branch, the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, held military training camps for some 17,000 youths aged 15-21. According to a Hamas-affiliated website (palinfo.com), the camps, called "Talai' Al-Tahrir" (Pioneers of Liberation), were "extremely popular", and the movement therefore had to hold both morning and afternoon camps. The camp activities, attended by Hamas officials, included training with live ammunition. The purpose of the enterprise is to form the core of a popular army comprising members from all sectors of society, and to prepare the teens, ideologically and militarily, for jihad and for the struggle with Israel. Youths who participated in the camps declared that they had come to learn how to kidnap Israeli soldiers and liberate Jerusalem.
The following are details about the camps and statements about them from Hamas officials.
Hamas Officials: The Youths Trained At The Camps Will Fire The Rockets In The Next Campaign And Liberate Palestine
At the camp's closing ceremony, held on January 27, 2015, Isma'il Haniya, deputy head of Hamas's political bureau, said: "The people's rallying around the resistance will foil all of [Israel's] plans to harm the image of Hamas and of the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades... The Al-Qassam Brigades' camps are a strategic enterprise [aimed at] raising the generation of victory and liberation. Resistance and preparations for bearing arms against the enemy are no longer optional, but have become a culture embraced not only by Hamas, but by every Palestinian home and every Palestinian sector." Haniya emphasized that the main message is that Hamas wishes to convey with these camps is that it "cares for all popular strata, so they will be fully prepared for defending Palestinian soil and the Palestinian people."