Gaza preschoolers seen performing mock execution of Israeli soldier
A shocking video recently surfaced that allegedly shows a play at a preschool in the Gaza Strip where children dressed up as commandos and performed a mock hostage-taking situation and execution of an Israeli soldier.
First reported by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), the video purportedly was recorded during a ceremony in May at the Al-Hoda preschool in the self-governing Palestinian territory.
In the play, a group of commandos – including a camouflaged sniper and soldiers in body armor – busted into an Israeli building on “Al-Quds Street.” They pulled out two “hostages” – one dressed in traditional ultra-Orthodox Jewish attire and the other as an Israeli Defense Force soldier – before mock-killing the IDF soldier.
The entire five-minute performance featured loud explosions and sound effects of gunfire. As a finale, the hostage was whisked off stage, while one of the commandos displayed a sign in Arabic and Hebrew that read, “Israel has fallen.”
The play was followed by a demonstration of military formations by the children, while a speech by the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat played in the background.
Fox News was unable to confirm the veracity of the content, but a spokesperson for MEMRI said they found the footage while monitoring the Internet for Palestinian videos.
“Unfortunately we have seen many videos like this from the region over the years,” Steven Stalinsky, MEMRI’s executive director, told Fox News in an email.
MEMRI asserts that the Al-Hoda school is affiliated with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group and has held similar performances in the past.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is an Islamic, Palestinian nationalist organization that violently opposes the existence of Israel.” The group was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department in 1997 and is believed to almost entirely funded Iran.
Attempts to contact Al-Hoda by Fox News were unsuccessful.
The video comes at a time of heightened tension between Israelis and Palestinians.
Clashes at the Israel-Gaza border left dozens of Palestinians dead and hundreds wounded on the same day that the Trump administration officially opened the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem last month.
Earlier on Sunday, the Israeli military struck Hamas militant sites in Gaza early Sunday in response to the resumption of rocket fire toward Israel, which threatened to unravel an informal cease-fire that had held since a flare-up of violence last week.
Israel has also been battling fires triggered by kites rigged with incendiary devices, or attached to burning rags, launched by Palestinians in Gaza that have damaged forests and burned southern agricultural fields.
The military said it hit 15 Hamas targets, including military compounds, munition factories and naval forces. The strikes came after militants broke days of calm along the volatile frontier by firing projectiles toward Israeli communities.
Last week, Gaza militants fired dozens of mortar shells and Israel struck back, in the most violent exchange between the two sides since the 2014 war.
Despite the flare-up in violence, neither Israel nor Hamas appear interested in a full-blown conflict, and both exercised restraint. Militants in Gaza did not fire long-range rockets at Israel’s major cities, as they did in 2014, and Israeli airstrikes were focused on unmanned military targets.
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the Islamic militant group seized control of Gaza in 2007.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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