GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Hamas authorities have been burning piles of narcotics and cannabis in a yearly sweep against drugs in the beleaguered Gaza Strip.
Officers in military fatigues on Oct. 22, 2018, 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.
With residents suffering under a decadelong Israeli-Egyptian blockade since the militant Hamas took power, authorities say drug use has grown among Gaza’s 2 million residents as people look for an escape from harsh living conditions, soaring unemployment, and travel restrictions.
Hamas officials said they are fighting the drug epidemic relentlessly. On Oct. 22, 2018, Hamas sentenced 17 people convicted of drug trafficking to hard-labor prison terms of 10 years to life.
In 2017, Hamas legislators endorsed the death penalty to curb drugs.
Banner Image: Hamas security forces stand guard while they burn hashish, opium and more than 1 million pills of the opioid tramadol Oct. 22, 2018, that have been seized since the beginning of the year in Gaza City. (The Associated Press/Adel Hana)