newsIsrael at War

Hamas trying to take control in northern Gaza

The terrorist group is using humanitarian aid in an effort to prove it is still in charge in the Strip.

Palestinians line up outside a bakery in Deir al Balah, the central Gaza Strip, to buy bread, Jan. 30, 2024. Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS.
Palestinians line up outside a bakery in Deir al Balah, the central Gaza Strip, to buy bread, Jan. 30, 2024. Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS.

Despite Israeli efforts, Hamas is making significant efforts to renew its control of the northern Gaza Strip.

“This is a deliberate effort by Hamas to prove control in the north, especially as long as the negotiations on the return of the abductees continue, since one of the clauses that Hamas demands in the agreement is to allow the residents to return to the north,” a Palestinian source in Gaza said.

The terrorist group, he explained, “is trying to prove to Israel that, one way or another, it is gnawing away at its military achievements.”

Hamas operates police forces without uniforms in Gaza, who are mostly seen in the Ramal neighborhood of Gaza City, near government offices and in markets. They are primarily tasked with controlling food prices and preventing trade in humanitarian aid stolen by non-terrorists.

“It’s not for nothing that Hamas works mainly in the field of public order and the distribution of humanitarian aid to prove to the Palestinian public that it is still the significant governing body in the Gaza Strip,” one Gaza resident said.

Hamas has begun opening offices through which it pays a total of $200 to its hundreds of civil servants and police officers, Sources inside the Strip said. On social media, Hamas distributed the list of the locations of these offices. One makeshift office was set up in the courtyard of Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital, though it was later bombed by Israeli forces.

In one video circulating on social media, Hamas policemen are seen marching dozens of thieves who broke into abandoned homes in northern Gaza as residents evacuated southward.

Hamas has prioritized getting civil servants back to work in its Finance, Education and Interior ministries.

Alongside this is the phenomenon of residents returning to their destroyed homes. While the majority of Palestinians living in northern Gaza fled south and are not yet allowed to return, a quarter-million residents stayed in shelters in northern Gaza, according to U.N. officials. The Israel Defense Forces says the number is slightly lower.

These are the Palestinians sorting through the rubble and trying to create new homes with plastic sheeting and broken furniture.

Around 70% of the housing units in northern Gaza are believed to have been damaged to varying degrees.

Israeli forces routinely find Hamas weapons caches, command and control centers, tunnel shafts, rocket launchers and other military infrastructure in, under, or in close proximity to private homes, schools, hospitals and mosques.

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