Monday, May 24, 2010

A Summer Camp Tale

Who burnt down a good part of a summer camp for Arabs children in Gaza?

Israeli troops? Other armed men?

Who were they? What was their identification?

The Al-Jazeera report:

Dozens of armed men have attacked a United Nations summer camp being set up for children in the Gaza Strip, setting tents on fire and vandalising bathrooms.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, which provides activities for around 250,000 young people in Gaza, said the attackers also assaulted a guard and tied him up.

It said the men also left a letter with four bullets, threatening the agency's Gaza director and sending a chilling message to the camp's organisers.

The BBC report:

Masked gunmen have attacked a UN summer camp being set up for children in the Gaza Strip, UN officials say. The attackers burned tents and destroyed other equipment after tying up a guard. They also left a letter threatening the head of the UN Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa), John Ging.

No group has claimed the overnight raid, but observers suspect it is the work of Islamic extremists opposed to such camps for boys and girls.

"The armed men torched the camp, which contained recreational equipment and (plastic) swimming pools, and completely destroyed it," Unrwa spokesman Abu Hasna told journalists.

The CNN report:

A U.N.-sponsored summer camp in Gaza was burned Sunday hours before it was due to open, witnesses said, blaming Muslim extremists who apparently object to boys and girls going to camp together.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency had planned to open summer camps for children across Gaza this week, after the school year ended.

The Reuters report:

About 20 men, some carrying assault rifles, tore up large plastic tents and burned storage facilities at the site, where tens of thousands of children are due to attend camp sessions, said Ibrahim Elewa, a private guard who was on duty when they struck.

Two days earlier, a previously unknown militant group, "The Free of the Homeland," issued a statement criticizing the camp's organizer, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), for, "teaching schoolgirls fitness, dancing and immorality."

Fundamentalist Muslims, or Salafis, whose agenda of global or holy war against the West is against Hamas's nationalist goals, have stepped up attacks in the Gaza Strip over the past several months, targeting Hamas security men and offices.

"No doubt in my mind that it is vandalism linked to a certain degree of extremism. It is an attack on the happiness of children," John Ging, UNRWA's director of operations in Gaza, told reporters at the damaged camp.
AP. Also wishy-washy.

Just in case you are wondering, the Reuters reports is some 20 hours earlier than the Al-Jazeera account. So it isn't a question of gathering facts over time for the details to emerge.

1 comment:

Suzanne Pomeranz said...

Hummm -maybe the attackers are investors in the new Olympic-sized swimming pool - - and didn't like the idea of competition!