Gaza gunmen 'set fire to UN summer camp for children'

Damage at UN summer camp in Gaza This is the second attack on a UN summer camp in five weeks

Masked gunmen in the Gaza Strip have set fire to a United Nations-run summer camp for children.

This follows a similar attack in May on another UN-run summer camp.

Some militants view the UN as a symbol of the West and claim that the summer camps allow boys and girls to mix freely - something that the UN denies.

The attackers tied up the guard at the camp in central Gaza before setting fire to chairs, tables, easels and other equipment.

The UN says about 25 armed men attacked the beach camp in the middle of Sunday night.

Start Quote

This is another example of the growing levels of extremism in Gaza and further evidence, if that were needed, of the urgency to change the circumstances on the ground”

End Quote John Ging Unrwa head in Gaza

Nobody was hurt, and nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack.

But in a similar incident last month a previously unknown Islamist group said its had attacked a UN summer camp in Gaza city.

The head in Gaza of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees condemned the attack as "cowardly and despicable".

"This is another example of the growing levels of extremism in Gaza and further evidence, if that were needed, of the urgency to change the circumstances on the ground," John Ging said.

UN pledge

UNRWA said the camp would be repaired and promised to maintain its 1,200 summer camps, at which about 250,000 Gazan children take part in activities including sports, swimming, arts and theatre during the summer months.

Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza, condemned the previous attack on 23 May.

Some in Gaza though believe that such attacks involving so many men could not be carried out with at least the complicit support of Hamas, BBC Gaza correspondent Jon Donnison reports.

Hamas also runs rival summer camps.

A spokesman for the Interior ministry in Gaza said it would catch whoever carried out last night's raid and that they would be jailed.

More on This Story

Israel and the Palestinians

FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
National Post Rival Gaza summer camps covet young minds - 11 hrs ago
People's Daily Online Vandalizing UN children's summer camp in Gaza outrages Palestinians - 14 hrs ago
Foreign Policy Magazine Militants ban Gazan children from having too much fun - 15 hrs ago
Telegraph UN summer camp in Gaza attacked - 27 hrs ago
France24 Gunmen set fire to second UN summer camp in Gaza - 31 hrs ago

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Middle East stories

RSS

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.