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​​Palestinian Refugees to Assemble ‘Jihad Mobiles’ for Chechen Military

Refugees from Palestine in Chechnya. Yelena Afonina / TASS

Authorities in Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Chechnya will train Palestinian refugees from Gaza to work at a factory that assembles assault vehicles used by Chechen fighters in Ukraine, according to local state-run media.

Known as “Jihad Mobiles,” the assault vehicles assembled at the Chechenavto plant are modeled on converted off-road vehicles that Russian troops used in Syria.

Around 200 Palestinians who managed to flee the Gaza Strip have settled in Chechnya since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October 2023. Chechen officials have since boasted that some of these refugees had been employed at medical institutions across the majority Muslim republic.

Chechnya’s state-run news agency Grozny Inform reported Wednesday that senior regional cabinet officials met with still-unemployed Palestinian refugees and promised to provide them training at local engineering schools and then employ them at Chechenavto.

“They’ll become full-fledged citizens of the [Chechen] republic, they’ll receive wages and make retirement contributions along with the rest of us,” the republic’s industry and energy minister Adam Khakimov was quoted as saying.

The officials said the training program was part of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s pledge to find employment for the Palestinian refugees.

Kadyrov, a loyal Kremlin ally whose rule has been marked by an array of rights abuses, voiced support for Palestine after Israel launched a brutal siege on Gaza that has seen tens of thousands killed in retaliation for Hamas' October 2023 assault that claimed over 1,100 lives.

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