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Thousands of Gaza teens graduate from Hamas high school military program

More than 3,000 Palestinian teenagers have graduated from the Hamas militant group's first high school military training program in the Gaza Strip.

The Futuwwa, or Youth, program is a weekly elective that is offered in all of Gaza's high schools. Officials say 3,600 participated in the first session, which began in September.

Students climb down buildings on ropes, jump over obstacles and crawl under barbed wire. The oldest students also are trained to use light weapons, while younger ones train with wooden rifles.

The students were dressed in black T-shirts and hats, and some colored their faces painted black, during a ceremony Thursday in a stadium attended by Hamas' prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh.

Haniyeh says he has ordered his education minister to establish a full-time military college to open next September.