Palestinians burn West Bank YMCA

Palestinians today attacked and set fire to the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) headquarters in Qalqiliya, a large West Bank city controlled by Hamas.

Local government sources identified the attackers as members of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups, saying the identities of the gunmen are “well known” to Qalqiliya’s security forces, which are controlled by the Hamas government.

Today’s arson follows a series of warnings by the Muslim leadership of Qalqilya accusing the city’s YMCA of missionary activity and demanding the Christian organization close its offices and leave town or face likely Muslim violence.

According to local reports, the gunmen today destroyed the locks on the YMCA’s entrance gates, crushed the gates, then entered the building and set it ablaze. Local fire brigades reportedly rushed to the scene and stopped the fire before it spread to neighboring buildings. The building sustained serious damage, YMCA officials said.

The Qalqiliya police say they opened an investigation into the incident and will hunt down and arrest the attackers.

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