Sunday, May 23, 2010

Gaza gunmen burn down UNRWA summer camp

At 0230 on Sunday 23 May 2010, a group of approximately 30 armed and masked men attacked and set fire to an UNRWA recreation facility under construction on the beach in Gaza city. The location is one of 35 beach facilities currently under construction, which will form part of UNRWA’s annual “Summer Games” program for over 250,000 refugee children in Gaza, due to commence on 12 June.

UNRWA’s Director of Operations in Gaza, John Ging, condemned the incident, calling it “vandalism linked to extremism and an attack on the happiness of children” He went on to reassure parents and the children of Gaza that “UNRWA will not be intimidated by such acts and will quickly rebuild the location in good time to host the Summer Games."
Palestine Press Agency adds that the gunmen tied up the guards and handed them a letter, with four bullets. The letter warned UNRWA "not to continue extracurricular activities which are detrimental to the morality of children."

On Friday, the group circulated threats against UNRWA head John Ging in mosques and on the Internet, calling him an "agent of the occupation." Major Gaza terror groups condemned the act, and the PLO particularly pointed out that it acted as a "witness to the tragedy of the Palestinian people."

Almost always, UNRWA is silent about attacks on its facilities and people, but this one was way too big to ignore.