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June 18, 2013 2:09 am

Islamic Jihad’s Summer of Radicalization

avatar by Steven Emerson

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Gaza children in their kindergarten class, run by Islamic Jihad. Photo: Ynet.

Summer camp conjures up bucolic images of swimming and other outdoor fun. But thousands of Palestinian children will experience something quite different, as exhibited in a report issued Thursday by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

In addition to learning scouting, first-aid and other traditional skills, kids at a Palestinian Islamic Jihad camp receive hands-on training in gruesome terror tactics, and play a variation on “capture the (Israeli) flag” that involves a young boy being dragged by his arms as the children learn the art of kidnapping Israeli soldiers.

Up to 10,000 children ages 6-16 attend each session of the “Generation of Faith” camps.

Dressed in T-shirts emblazoned with the Islamic Jihad’s logo, children work with real AK-47s and face explosions and fiery burning tires in an all too memorable “war zone,” Britain’s Daily Mail reports.

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This is just the latest example of Palestinians targeting youngsters with messages of war and glorifying death. These campers may have seen a back-to-school program aired by Hamas-controlled television called “The Gifted” that showed a 2-year-old boy in military garb and aiming an assault weapon “at the occupying terrorists.”

“We’ll wear the battle-vest of self sacrifice and follow the path of the Shahids,” a child narrator says as the younger boy, his face hooded, stoops down with his weapon. Hamas also runs a program for high school students called “Futuwwa” that trained thousands of teenaged boys on handling a Kalashnikov rifle and throwing grenades.

The Islamic Jihad’s camp director said the goal is “to raise an outstanding generation of believing [Muslims] that are well aware of their goals in the conflict with the Zionist enemy and who adhere to the honorable Koran and to the Prophet’s sunna, as [Islamic Jihad founder] Dr. Fathi Al-Shqaqi ordered us to do,” the MEMRI report said.

One camper notes that he will be “an outstanding [fighter] like the honorable martyrs Muhammad Al-Sheikh Khalil, Mahmoud Al-Zatma, and Yasser Abu Al-‘Aish.” Those are three senior Islamic Jihad commanders involved in numerous attacks against Israel.

The camp’s emphasis on training is no coincidence. Israeli Defense Forces recently reported a sharp rise in attempted kidnappings, documenting 27 cases this year alone. The children of Gaza have a rich selection of role models from which to choose.

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