TEL AVIV — The ruins of two large synagogues in evacuated Jewish communities of the Gaza Strip have been transformed into military bases used by Palestinian Arab groups to fire rockets at Israeli cities, according to a senior leader of a Gaza militant group.
When Israel withdrew from the Gaza in August, 2005, it left intact 20 synagogues of the Gush Katif Jewish communities following an Israeli Cabinet decision against demolishing the structures. Immediately after the Israeli evacuation was completed, Palestinian Arabs destroyed most of the Gaza synagogues.
Speaking to The New York Sun from Gaza, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, Abu Abir, said the area in which the synagogues once stood is now used to fire rockets at Israel.
"We are proud to turn these lands, especially these parts that were for long time the symbol of occupation and injustice, like the synagogue, into a military base and source of fire against the Zionists and the Zionist entity," Mr. Abir said.
Mr. Abir blamed the Jewish state for the desecration of the Gaza synagogues by Palestinian Arabs, claiming the decision to leave the structures intact was part of an Israeli conspiracy.
Israel "left the synagogues behind so the world would see the Palestinians destroying them," Mr. Abir said.