water park - Reuters - September 19 2010
Masked gunmen torched the 3-month-old 'Crazy Water Park' in Gaza City. Photo by Reuters
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Gaza's aquapark attraction "Crazy Water Park" was vandalized and partially set ablaze by on Sunday morning, the seaside resort's management said.

Around 40 unidentified militants stormed the tourist resort, breaking and destroying items and setting fire to its restaurant and administration buildings.

The tourist attraction houses three swimming pools, water slides and various cafes and other facilities.

Alladein al-Araj, the attraction's director general, said in a statement that the militants also tied the hands of the guards and beat them.

He said that in addition to the resort's management offices, and restaurant, a three-storey building that includes wedding halls was also vandalized.

Describing it as "an awful attack," al-Araj said he held the attorney-general of the Hamas administration in the salient responsible, since he had issued an order in September to close the resort for three weeks.

"I'm astonished that there are fanatical people acting to obstruct the development of tourism in the Gaza Strip," he said.

He said owners of tourism facilities in the enclave met with Hamas lawmakers two days ago asking their help.

In June 2007, Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip by force after routing security forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.

Since then, the Hamas administration in the Strip has been closing down restaurants, coffee shops and hotels in the salient, claiming these places violate Islamic tradition.

However, Gaza rights groups accuse Hamas of trying to Islamize the Gaza Strip by imposing new rules and laws that restrict many freedoms.