GAZA STRIP - Six thousand Palestinian kids participated in a kite-flying contest organized by UN workers in the Gaza Strip.
The children, outfitted in orange shirts and blue caps, released their colorful homemade kites with joyful abandon.
"We are happy we came here, full of joy, full of life," said 11-year-old Marwan Mohammad.
"We hope that we can be free and can enjoy the same freedom these kites enjoy in the air," he said. "All we're looking for is to grow up like normal children."
Some of the kites featured the Palestinian flag with a map depicting all of Israel as a Palestinian state, the same logo that appears on the PA's official stationery.
The Guinness Book of World Records received an application from the event's sponsors for "most kites flown simultaneously," but they were unable to send a judge due to travel restrictions to Gaza, according to The Associated Press.
Guinness spokesperson Karolina Thelin said the children would be able to verify the record in other ways.
The current record for flying kites simultaneously is 967, set a year ago in Melle-Gronegau, Germany, she said.
UN spokesman Christopher Gunness said each child's kite had been registered according to Guinness protocol, which the organizers had followed with "military precision."
Hamas, which stayed away from the kite-flying festival, runs its own military-style summer camps, preparing kids to join the "resistance" against Israel.
One Hamas official accused the UN-run summer camps of encouraging drug use and obscene behavior by teaching swimming and folk dancing to the children.
Source: The Associated Press