Gazan kids break guinness world kite flying record
BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip - Thousands of children in the Gaza Strip attempted to set a new world record Thursday by flying colorful homemade kites amid the ruins of Israel's crushing offensive earlier this year — a rare display of joy in the isolated seaside territory ruled by Hamas militants.
The festive event, sponsored by the United Nations, brought some 6,000 campers in orange uniforms and blue caps to a beach in Gaza's war-torn north, where they released their kites into clear skies.
Some included designs such as the red, green, black and white Palestinian flag.
"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. All we are looking for is to grow up like normal children."
Marwan said his neighborhood in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, was bombarded in Israel's January offensive. He said many of his friends' relatives were killed in the attacks.
A stifling economic blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt has prevented Gaza from rebuilding. The 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza are not free to come and go, and Gaza is surrounded on all sides by an Israeli-built fence and a heavily patrolled sea coast.
John Ging, the head of the U.N. agency that deals with Palestinian refugees, said the fact that the event was taking place in Gaza held special significance.