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Al-Qassam youth training camps open again

The Vanguards of Liberation camps, previously organized under the supervision of the Education and Interior Ministries in Hamas-run Gaza, are now under the control of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, which some think might be using the camps to recruit young men as fighters.
Palestinian youths hold weapons during a military-style graduation ceremony after being trained at one of the Hamas-run Liberation Camps, in Gaza City January 29, 2015. Hamas's armed wing organized "Liberation Youths Camps" for young Palestinians aged between 15 and 21 to prepare them to "confront any possible Israeli attack", Hamas officials said. According to organizers, some 17,000 youths graduated from these camps. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem (GAZA - Tags: MILITARY POLITICS) - RTR4NFQZ
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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — On Jan. 20, less than six months after the end of the most recent Israeli war on Gaza, Hamas relaunched Vanguards of Liberation camps for youth ages 15-21. Some 17,000 young men graduated from this camp Jan. 29 to form, according to the movement, the nucleus of the next Liberation Army.

Zakaria al-Hour, general director of educational activities at the Ministry of Education, told Al-Monitor, “We are now affiliated with the reconciliation government, which did not provide us with financial benefits, nor operational or administrative orders, and thus the ministry could not organize the Vanguard of Liberation camps this year." Hour said that instead, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades organized the camps on its own. “Due to the lack of funds, other parties [the brigades] took it upon themselves to establish this program, which was affected by political issues,” he stated.

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