Middle East

Gaza children 'break' kite flying record

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Media captionChildren gathered on the beach as thousands of kites took to the skies

Thousands of children in Gaza appear to have broken their own world record for the number of kites flown at the same time, the UN says.

More than 6,200 children taking part in a summer programme organised by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) gathered on a beach to fly a kite each.

UNRWA's Gaza director, John Ging, said the achievement had lifted the spirits of the entire population of Gaza.

The latest attempt still has to be confirmed by Guinness World Records.

Last week more than 7,000 Gazan children bounced basketballs simultaneously for five minutes, doubling the previous world record.

"Surely two world records in a week would be another world record," Mr Ging said.

"Like children anywhere in the world, children here must have a sense of normality," he added.

"Despite the abnormality they face in their daily lives. Today's achievement has lifted the spirits of the entire population here in Gaza."

'Tough days'

One of those taking part was Rima Zayed, 14.

She said the kite flying had helped her to forget the "tough days" of Israel's January 2009 offensive, when her family was homeless for several months.

"At least today we can enjoy our freedom," she said.

The previous kite-flying record was set last year when 3,710 children in Gaza took part in a similar UN summer event.

The UNRWA Summer Games programme takes place over six weeks in nearly 150 locations across the impoverished Gaza Strip.

The UN said there was no adjudicator from Guinness World Records because of travel warnings for Gaza, so the new record still had to be confirmed.

UNRWA runs schools and clinics and provides food aid for the one million registered refugees in Gaza - about two-thirds of the population.

Israel has recently eased a blockade of the Palestinian territory. It had tightened the blockade in 2007 after the Islamist Hamas movement seized control of Gaza.

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