Hamas denies forming ‘Popular Army’ in Gaza

Gaza, Oct 1 (IANS)┬áThe Islamic Hamas movement Wednesday denied media reports about its plan to form a “Popular Army” in the Gaza Strip.

The group said in an emailed press statement that Hamas has an armed wing, known as al-Qassam Brigades, and “anything reported on the plans to form an army in the Gaza Strip is untrue”.

Earlier this week, several mosques in the Gaza Strip called for recruiting Gaza youths and provide them with paramilitary training.

“All what Hamas called for is a limited training programme that targets young men and teenagers as part of a basic programme that Hamas movement has been carrying out every year,” the statement said.

It added that the aim of such training programmes “is to empower the philosophy of resistance in the minds of the young generations”.

The calls were made at the end of a large-scale Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that lasted for 50 days.

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