Hamas makes comeback in northern Gaza

Hamas has deployed officers and made salary payments to civil servants in Gaza City in recent days

Hamas is resurging in Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip, AP reported on 3 February, following repeated claims by Israel’s army that its military wing has been dismantled there.

Israel has withdrawn some of its forces from north Gaza in the past month. On 1 February, more withdrawals from areas of the north took place, according to Anadolu Agency (AA), resulting in the reappearance of some displaced residents.

Gaza City residents and an unnamed Hamas official told AP that the group has been “deploying police officers and making partial salary payments to some of its civil servants in Gaza City in recent days.”

Hamas’ Qassam Brigades have not stopped operating in the north since the ground assault began and have continued to fire rockets from the northern strip despite Israeli efforts to stifle the resistance’s military capabilities.

Israeli daily The Times of Israel said the resurgence highlights Hamas’ “resilience” and is a “signal that Israel has not delivered a knockout blow to Hamas.” So far, Israel is no closer to its stated goal of eradicating the group.

Tel Aviv had claimed in January that its forces have “completed the dismantling of Hamas’s military framework in the northern Gaza Strip.”

Locals said on 3 February that Israeli jets bombed some of the offices temporarily reestablished by Hamas in the north.

Clashes are continuing in other areas of the north. Yet Israeli army operations are focused in the south, where fierce fighting between Israel and the Qassam Brigades is raging in the city of Khan Yunis.

Tel Aviv is now threatening to push its ground assault into the border city of Rafah, where nearly two million Palestinians – most of whom have been displaced from other areas of Gaza – are stranded.

The planned assault on Rafah poses the threat of an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.

Meanwhile, Hamas has said it needs more time to announce a position on the latest truce proposal mediated by US, Israeli, Qatari, and Egyptian officials.

A Palestinian source denied reports on 1 February that an agreement had been reached and that a Hamas delegation had traveled to Cairo for negotiations.

Hamas leader Osama Hamdan said on Saturday that false reports on Hamas’ position of the truce proposal are part of an “Israeli disinformation campaign.”

Israel has “rejected all initiatives made so far … in order to continue the aggression,” Hamdan added.

The group has said it will not agree to anything that does not include an end to the war and a complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from the strip.

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