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Published March 2, 2007


In Gaza, where unemployment is rampant, there's one profession that always has an opening: spokesman for militant groups.

Because they are Israeli targets, they often wear ski masks when meeting the media, muffling their voices. They quickly master the art of text messaging the group's news. When they hold news conferences, the venue is most likely a sidewalk, to ensure a quick getaway. Gunmen flank the spokesman, trying to look tough.

If a militant group has enough money, it appoints both a military and a political spokesman. It was thus a turning point last week for a small but violent and high-profile group, the Popular Resistance Committees, which has blown up Israeli tanks and was involved in the capture of an Israeli soldier last summer.

The spokesman, Abu Mujahid, barely out of his teens, announced at a sidewalk news conference that the group had a new spokesman, Abu Sharif, to speak on military matters.

Abu Sharif wore a ski mask, but was clearly inexperienced. His hands shook as he haltingly read from a crumpled paper. He didn't look at the cameras - and left without giving out his cell phone number.

[Last modified March 2, 2007, 01:24:34]

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