Hamas is re-emerging in areas from which Israel withdrew its forces a month ago, AP reported on Saturday.
The group is deploying police officers and making salary payments to some civil servants in Gaza City, as reported by four residents and a senior official in the terrorist group.
According to information from four residents in Gaza City, as reported to The Associated Press, both uniformed and plainclothes Hamas police officers have been seen deploying near police headquarters and various government offices. This includes areas close to Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in the territory, where a major Hamas headquarters was located before the Israeli takeover.
In other parts of Gaza, Hamas administrators and police maintain strong control over the southern regions, where a significant portion of the population resides. However, civil order is deteriorating in the central Gaza Strip.
The apparent resurgence of Hamas in areas previously taken and cleared by Israeli troops during the nearly four-month offensive highlights the challenges the Netanyahu war cabinet faces in fulfilling its commitment to “crush” the terrorist group.
There exists a direct line between the IDF’s decision to slow down the war and Hamas’s ability to reinsert itself into parts of the Strip it was forced to flee two and three months ago.
Haaretz on Saturday cited Hamas operatives who said their commanders ordered them to restore order in the areas in the northern Gaza Strip from which the IDF had withdrawn, to prevent the looting of shops and abandoned homes. Said Abdellabar, a resident of Gaza City, said that Hamas paid his cousin $200 from a makeshift office next to Shifa Hospital, as it did dozens of policemen and civil servants.
According to Ahmed Abu Hadros, also a resident of Gaza City, Israeli warplanes attacked during the week and on Saturday morning the area where the makeshift office that Hamas opened was located.
Aid agencies involved in distributing essential supplies to the displaced population in southern Gaza are still coordinating with Hamas-appointed officials, The Guardian reported last week. While Hamas continues to provide police escorts for convoys, there are indications that the group’s hold on power has weakened compared to pre-war conditions.
William Schomburg, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza, expressed concern about a general breakdown of law and order, noting an overall increase in criminality as civilian needs become more desperate.
Like it or not, the reintroduction of Hamas police is viewed by local civilians as an effort to restore order in the city that sustained significant damage after Israel withdrew a substantial number of troops from northern Gaza last month. A Hamas official informed the Associated Press about this development, speaking anonymously. The official stated that the group’s leaders have issued directives to establish order in the northern areas where Israeli forces withdrew. This includes measures to prevent the looting of abandoned shops and homes.
The Hamas-controlled Health Ministry announced on Saturday that the number of dead in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the war has risen to 27,238. According to the ministry, 107 of them were killed on Friday. According to the announcement, 66,452 people have been injured since the beginning of the war.
Source – Jewish Press – Video source – afalkhatib – Image – IDF blows up underground tunnels in Gaza, but reports suggest some 80% of the Hamas tunnels remain intact/IDF
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