UN Summer Camp for Gaza Kids Vandalized by Masked Men

No claim of responsibility but assailants likely Islamist extremists who view UN camp as Western effort to take over Gaza.

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The top United Nations aid official in Gaza said Sunday that dozens of masked gunmen have vandalized a UN summer camp being set up for children and teens on Gaza's Mediterranean coast.

A UN-run summer camp after it was torched by masked gunmen in Gaza May 23, 2010.Credit: Reuters

John Ging said the assailants tied up the guard early Sunday, burned tents and vandalized bathrooms. UN officials say the attackers left behind three bullets and a note threatening to kill Ging and others unless the UN cancels its activities for some 250,000 Gaza children.

UN summer camps offer arts, sports and other activities.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, but sources say the assailants are likely extreme Islamists who view the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, which runs the camp, as a Western body trying to wrestle control over Gaza. In the past, Islamist extremists have set fire to dozens of Gaza internet cafes, shops that sell alcohol, and libraries and offices of Christian organizations.

The Hamas government issued condemnations of these crimes, as well as the burning of the UN camp, but has yet to achieve any real results.

Gaza's Hamas rulers have set up rival camps. Some Hamas leaders have also railed against UN camps.

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