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Halloween in the Gaza Strip

Great costumes, scary dudes.
October 31, 2011, 12:00am

Gaza City - Although Gaza was once a paradise for pagans, in recent centuries this disconsolate stretch of land has taken on more of an Islamic flavor, giving rise to groups like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and one that we hadn’t heard of until today called Al Ahrar.

On October 30, two members of Al Ahrar’s military wing were killed in an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip—part of what the Israeli Defense Forces call a “direct response to the barrage of rockets that hit Israel” the preceding day.

Today, October 31, a group of masked members of Al Ahrar, a Hamas-affiliated group that started in 2007, gave a pop-up press conference on a busy sidewalk in downtown Gaza City. The five young men armed with Kalashnikovs seemed to appear, like phantoms, from nowhere. They read a prepared statement condemning Israel to a small cluster of cameras and barely amused children before posing for a few photos. And like that, they were gone. The camera crews packed up, the kids dispersed, and everyone went back to complaining about the constant, high-pitched buzzing of Israeli drones overhead.