Hamas sets ablaze one million pills, hashish in annual sweep

Hamas sets ablaze one million pills, hashish in annual sweep
Hamas authorities in the besieged Gaza Strip have burned illegal drugs in its annual sweep on Monday.
2 min read
22 October, 2018
Hamas have burned illegal drugs in Gaza [Getty]

Hamas authorities burned piles of narcotics and cannabis on Monday, as part of a yearly sweep against drugs in the beleaguered Gaza Strip.

Officers in military fatigues on Monday poured gasoline and set alight more than 1 million tablets of opioid painkiller tramadol, about 1,500 slabs of hashish and 900 grams of opium.

In the Gaza Strip, the tiny Palestinian territory sandwiched between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean and ravaged by three wars in a decade, drug abuse is often a hidden problem.

While no reliable statistics are available, experts and medical support groups estimate there are tens of thousands of drug users in Gaza.

Young men are among those most affected in a territory suffering 45 percent unemployment, rising to more than 60 percent among the youth.

Narcotics such as cannabis are sold illegally in the enclave of some two million people, but many of the most serious addicts are hooked on illicitly bought prescription medicines.

Last year, a military court in the besieged Gaza Strip sentenced two Palestinian men, identified by their initials only, to execution by firing squad.

The two men were sentenced to death in March after they were convicted of smuggling tramadol, marijuana, opium from Egypt via tunnels.

However, at that time the means of their execution was not specified. 

The military court also sentenced nine others to between five and 20 years in prison for involvement in drug dealing.

Agencies contributed to this report.