Hamas Reasserts Gaza Control

Only hours after Israel and Palestinian factions announced separate, unilateral ceasefires, the security forces of the Hamas-led government were out in the streets in full gear to reassert their authority.

"Hamas emerged from this battle with its head held high," Hamad al Ruqb, a Hamas official in Khan Yunis, told the Los Angles Times on Tuesday, January 20.

"Every Israeli attack only increases our support."

Policemen have been deploying in the streets across the bombed-out Gaza Strip to maintain law and order.

They were seen instructing onlookers to stay away from unexploded bombs and shells from Israel’s three-week massive air, sea and land bombing.

At open-air market in Rafah, officers confiscated household valve necessary for kitchen stoves after finding they were being sold more than the legal limit.

They moved to the sidewalk, sold the valves at the legal price and gave the money to the merchant.

Policemen were also directing the traffic in streets which have been clogged with vehicles and pedestrians who rushed to pick up the pieces of their lives.

Israel began its onslaught by bombing a police compound hosting a graduation ceremony for new personnel, killing scores of them.

Hundreds of police stations and security installations were also destroyed in the opening hours of Israel’s deadliest-ever offensive against Gaza.

Said Siam, the interior minister of the Gaza government, was killed in an Israeli air strike last week.

But the ministry’s spokesman, Ihab Ghussein, asserted that despite the huge excessive use of power by Israel, the Interior Ministry remained in control of Gaza.

Victory Celebration

Thousands of people marched through the streets of Gaza Tuesday to celebrate the victory of resistance against the Israeli occupation forces.

They gathered at several mosques in Gaza City, then the crowds marched their way to downtown waving Hamas green flags.

The marchers slammed Israel and several Arab countries, including Arab heavyweights Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

"This was a war that focused on killing women and children and focused on destroying buildings and houses after the Zionists failed to break the strong Palestinian armed resistance," said one of Hamas supporters.

The Israeli onslaught killed nearly 1,300 Palestinians, nearly half of them women and children, and left the coastal strip in ruins.

Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, insisted on Monday, 19, that 22 days of massive Israeli attacks failed to weaken its forces.

It said it only lost 48 of its fighters and a fraction of its military capacities, claiming to have killed no less than 80 Israeli soldiers and fired 980 projectiles into Israel.

Despite the massive destruction and the havoc wrecked by Israel on their homes and properties, many remained full of praise for Hamas and prime minister Ismail Haniyeh.

"If Haniyeh is all right, then all this is nothing," a veiled grandmother told Reuters, waving an arm at the blasted landscape of her Jabalya district.

(IslamOnline.net and Agencies)

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