Hamas has recently begun deploying police forces in Gaza City and paying partial salaries to some of its civil servants, resurgent in areas from which Israel withdrew the bulk of its troops a month ago. It included four residents and a senior official. the group said on Saturday.

Signs of Hamas’ resurgence in the Gaza Strip’s largest city underscore the group’s resilience despite Israel’s deadly air and ground campaign against it over the past four months. Israel has said it is committed to militarily crushing Hamas and preventing it from returning to power in Gaza, a territory it has ruled since 2007.

In recent days, Israeli forces have renewed attacks in the western and northwestern parts of Gaza City, including areas where salary distribution is reported.

Four Gaza City residents told The Associated Press that in recent days, uniformed and plainclothes police officers have been stationed near police headquarters and other government offices, including the region’s largest Shifa hospital. . Residents said they saw both the return of government workers near the makeshift offices and subsequent Israeli airstrikes.

A Hamas official told the AP on condition of anonymity that Israel was trying to restore order in the devastated city after Israel withdrew a large number of troops from northern Gaza last month. An official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The official said the group’s leaders had given instructions to restore order in parts of the north where Israeli forces had withdrawn, including helping to stop looting of residents’ shops and homes. who had repeatedly heeded Israeli evacuation orders and turned to the southern half of Gaza. .

During the Israeli ground offensive, many houses and buildings were left half-standing or reduced to piles of rubble, rubble and mud.

Saeed Abdul Bar, a resident of Gaza City, said a cousin obtained the funds from a temporary Hamas office near the hospital that was set up to distribute $200 payments to government employees, including police officers and municipal workers.

Since seizing Gaza nearly 17 years ago, Hamas has run a state bureaucracy with tens of thousands of civil servants, including teachers, traffic police and civil police who operate separately from the group’s secretive military wing.

The payment of partial salaries of at least $200 to some civil servants is a sign that Israel has not dealt a knockout blow to Hamas, even as it claims to have killed more than 9,000 Hamas fighters.

Ahmed Abu Hadros, a resident of Gaza City, said Israeli warplanes hit the area where the temporary office is located several times earlier this week, including on Saturday morning.

The attacks came nearly a month after Israeli military leaders said they had dismantled the command structure of a Hamas battalion in the north, but individual fighters continued to carry out guerrilla-style attacks.

Meanwhile, fighting continued in southern Gaza on Saturday.

At least 17 people, including women and children, were killed in two separate late-night airstrikes in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, on the border with Egypt, according to the registration office of a hospital where the bodies were taken.

The first attack took place in a residential building east of Rafah, killing at least 13 members of the Hijazi family. Hospital officials said that four women and three children were among the dead. The second attack took place at a house in the Jenina area of ​​Rafah, killing at least two men and two women from a Homs family.

The 17 bodies were taken to Abu Yusuf al-Najjar Hospital, the main health facility in Rafah, and were seen by an AP journalist.

The health ministry in Gaza said on Saturday that 107 people had been killed in the past 24 hours, bringing the wartime total to 27,238. More than 66,000 people have been injured.

More than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have taken refuge in Rafah and the surrounding area. A UN official said on Friday that Rafah was becoming a “pressure cooker of despair”.

Israel’s defense minister warned earlier this week that Israel could expand its offensive to Rafah after focusing for the past few weeks on Khan Yunis, the largest city in southern Gaza. While the statement has alarmed aid officials and international diplomats, it could significantly affect strategic relations with the US and Egypt if Israel sends troops to Rafah.

The United Nations Satellite Center said on Friday that its latest analysis of available imagery showed that more than 69,000 structures in Gaza – about a third of all the structures in the territory – had been destroyed in nearly four months of fighting. At least minor damage is done.

Israeli leaders have said they will continue to fight until Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, is crushed, even if a longer truce is agreed with the release of hostages. Is.

International mediators are continuing to work to bridge a widening gap over a proposed cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas presented this week, nearly four months after Hamas and other militants launched their offensive on southern Israel on October 7. Around 250 hostages were taken hostage by Jung during the deadly attack

Hamas is holding dozens of captives after freeing more than 100 during a week-long ceasefire in November. This release was in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners.

The conflict has leveled vast swathes of the tiny coastal enclave, displaced 85 percent of its population and pushed a quarter of residents into starvation.

Meanwhile, the United States – which has negotiated with Israel, Egypt and Qatar as tenants of the deal – carried out airstrikes late Friday on dozens of sites in Iraq and Syria used by Iranian-backed militias and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. What did A salvo in retaliation for a drone strike that killed three American soldiers in Jordan last weekend

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