In a sign of Hamas’ resilience despite Israel’s deadly air and ground campaign in the past four months, four residents and a senior official in the militant group said it has begun to resurface in areas where Israel withdrew the bulk of its forces a month ago, deploying police officers and making salary payments to some of its civil servants in Gaza City.
Four Gaza City residents told The Associated Press that in recent days, police officers deployed near police headquarters and other government offices, including near Shifa Hospital, the territory’s largest. The residents said they saw subsequent Israeli airstrikes near the makeshift offices.
The return of police marks an attempt to reinstate order in the devastated city, a Hamas official told AP, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
The official said the group’s leaders had given directions to reestablish order in parts of the north where Israeli forces had withdrawn, including by helping prevent the looting of shops and houses abandoned by residents who heeded Israeli evacuation orders and headed to southern Gaza. [Continue reading…]