Hamas grabbing power in places IDF controlled early in war

Hamas police officers were seen around stations, government offices and at Shifa Hospital, where the IDF discovered armories and terror tunnels.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Hamas is returning to areas in northern Gaza where the IDF defeated the terror group early in the war and are setting up police services as well as paying salaries to civil servants.

Offices were set up to pay civil servants, police officers and others salaries of $200.

There is some indication that Hamas is going beyond this and is attempting to rebuild its military in northern Gaza, and as a result the IDF is renewing activity in the area.

Sources told the Associated Press that they saw police officers in civilian clothes and uniforms located around police stations, government offices and Shifa Hospital, where the IDF discovered armories and terror tunnels.

A Hamas official claimed that the return of the police was to establish order and prevent looting of homes and shops.

In spite of the focus on eliminating Hamas in other areas of Gaza, the chief of the IDF’s Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman, told soldiers that it was still necessary to launch operations in the north.

“Our ability to operate here, in the heart of Gaza City again, after we left to attack in other areas, our ability to return here and operate powerfully against the important targets, while striking many dozens of terrorists in recent days, is an important ability, and we will continue to do it,” Finkelman said.

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The IDF is shifting from searching for weapons and tunnels and may undertake broader operations to re-take areas in the north of Gaza.

As a result, military operations may interfere with and delay the return of Gazan civilians to the North.

Some Israeli military officials blame the government for a lack of planning to prevent a power vacuum in areas the IDF had conquered early in the war.

Chief of Staff Herzi Halevy told Channel 13 News, “We are facing the erosion of gains made thus far in the war because no strategy has been put together for the day after.”