Border Control / Doctor by day, fighter by night
In early March Abu Hamed (not his real name), a member of Hamas' Qassam Unit in Gaza's Jabalya refugee camp, was seriously injured by three Israeli sniper bullets. Abu Hamed's 26-year-old fiance rushed to visit him at the hospital intensive care unit. Only then, seven years after he joined the unit, did Abu Hamed disclose to his beloved that he is leading a double life. During the day he works as a lawyer, representing clients in court. By night, when darkness falls, he puts on a mask and a uniform, picks up a Kalashnikov, makes sure the neighbors don't see him and joins his friends in the Iz al-Din al-Qassam brigade.
The story of Abu Hamed and his friends in the Rabat Unit was published last month in the wide-circulation Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun. The writer, Shinichi Morekami, even met with members of the Rabat Unit and photographed them in a hidden location. Among the people in the unit were a pediatrician, 33; a math teacher, 26; an art teacher, aged 31; the owner of a cosmetics factory, 43; a pharmacist, aged 35, and the owner of a concrete plant and sewing factory, 54, whose two sons were killed in one of Israel's missile attacks. The unit members told the reporter that they are careful to hide their nighttime activities, even from their families and friends, for fear that a collaborator will send Israeli assassins their way. They say that even their children don't know that once Dad has put them to bed, he goes out to fire Qassams on neighboring Israel.
Morekami wrote that the pediatrician, someone obviously used to speaking softly, said he keeps mum when his friends in the hospital engage in political debates. "I have a good salary and a happy family life, but I can't just watch the injustice of the Israeli occupation from the sidelines," the doctor-terrorist said, explaining his double life.