Special to WorldTribune.com
GAZA CITY — The Iranian-sponsored Islamic Jihad has moved into
education and social welfare in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian sources said Jihad has been opening kindergartens, day care
centers and charities as part of an effort to expand its base in the Gaza
The sources said the campaign has been funded by Iran, which wants Jihad to serve as an alternative to the Hamas regime.
“Jihad is following Hamas’ example and building a social welfare network for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and soon it will expand to the West Bank,” a Palestinian source said.
The sources said Jihad expanded from its longtime role as a militia to a provider of educational and welfare services. They said Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps supported an initiative by Jihad’s young guard to transform into a political movement with a powerful militia arm.
On June 13, Jihad, estimated to contain more than 10,000 activists,
displayed activities by its Gaza kindergartens. At one kindergarten,
children were taught to play war against Jews and Israel.
“When I grow up, I want to get on a bus with lots of Zionists
and blow myself up in a suicide bombing attack and kill them,” a child was
quoted by Jihad’s military wing as saying.
Jihad, preparing its first leadership elections, was said to have the
largest extended-range rocket arsenal in the Gaza Strip. The sources said
Iran has ensured immunity for Jihad squads that fire rockets and mortars
“With some exceptions, there are no longer arrests or torture [of Jihad
operatives],” another Palestinian source said. “At worst, Jihad rocket
squads are stopped from firing and allowed to return home.”