Hamas Reasserting Control Over Areas of Northern Gaza

Israel is also struggling to destroy Hamas's vast tunnel network

Hamas militants have returned to northern Gaza and are mobilizing against Israeli forces and establishing a system of governance, The Guardian reported Tuesday, citing Israeli officials, Gaza residents, and aid officials.

“We are hearing more, unfortunately, of the recovery of [an] insurgency in both central and northern Gaza … We’re hearing more and more that Hamas are doing policing in northern Gaza and governing trade, and that is a very bad outcome,” said Eyal Hulata, a former Israeli national security advisor.

The Israeli military recently withdrew from some areas of the northern Gaza Strip and claimed it had taken out Hamas’s military structure in the area, saying only “pockets of resistance were left.” But the re-emergence of organized Hamas members in the area highlights the Palestinian group’s resilience and the unrealistic nature of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s goal of “eradicating” Hamas.

Military situation in Gaza on January 30, 2024 (SouthFront.press)

The Guardian quoted Michael Milstein of the Institute for National Security Studies, an Israel-based think tank, who said Hamas had survived Israel’s brutal bombing campaign and ground operation in the north. “Hamas control these areas. There is no chaos or vacuum because it is the workers of Gaza municipality or civil rescue defense forces, who are effectively part of Hamas, who are enforcing public order. Hamas still exists. Hamas has survived,” he said.

“The IDF version is that in the northern part of Gaza the basic military structure of Hamas was broken … That only works with a conventional army but not for a flexible guerrilla operation like Hamas. We are already seeing individuals as snipers, setting booby traps and so on,” Milstein added.

Israel has also struggled to destroy Hamas’ underground tunnel network, which is significantly more extensive than Israel initially thought. US and Israeli officials believe only 20% of the tunnels have been destroyed.

Israel publicly acknowledged for the first time on Tuesday that it had begun pumping water into the tunnels, but the strategy is not very effective. US officials told The Wall Street Journal that in some areas, unexpected barriers slowed or stopped the flow of water altogether.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.