JERUSALEM, Israel -- Earlier this week, 13,000 high school students in the Gaza Strip graduated paramilitary training camps under the auspices of the Hamas government's education and interior ministries.
"This generation is a sapling from Allah on earth. It will harvest the enemies of Allah and be the pride of all nations," Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hammad told participants, The Times of Israel reported.
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh called the high school students from grades 10 to 12 "a generation that knows no fear."
"It is the generation of the missile, the tunnel and the suicide operations," Haniyeh said, noting that females "oversee the training of young women to follow in the footsteps of female suicide operatives." Islamic law forbids mixing genders in schools and other venues as well.
Last year, 5,000 teens graduated from the training camps, bringing the total of potential teenage jihadists to 18,000.
"We are the pioneers of liberation," the Hamas Interior Ministry quoted one graduate on its website. "We are coming to purify you from the Zionists."