Israel-Gaza War

Is Hamas losing control of the southern Gaza Strip?

Gazans in the Rafah protesting merchants selling humanitarian aid - and Hamas couldn't punish either.

Gazans are fed up, and no-one's in charge. (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Hamas presents Rafah as their last solid military bastion, but the pressure of the IDF machine even there is showing cracks emerging in Hamas’ control of even that area. In the past, Hamas would punish price-gouging merchants itself, now ordinary Gazans are protesting them.

Although most of Hamas’ remaining forces are now in the south, and the terrorist organization is trying to present a degree of control at least in the Rafah area, it seems that even there, residents no longer respect them as they used to. For the past few months, Hamas has tried to demonstrate governance in various ways, including continuing to maintain law and order and a police force.

But with the organization constantly weakening under the IDF steamroller, Gazans are now deciding the time has come to take control themselves. Gazans arriving today in the southern markets discovered dozens of merchants managing to lay their hands on humanitarian aid and sell it at exorbitant prices.

It’s not clear if they received this merchandise direct from Hamas or got ahold of it themselves, but one thing is clear: Hamas did not come to enforce order and the residents launched an angry protest.

Residents arriving to the protest lit a number of fires, burned tires, and even threatened the merchants. Hamas police did not arrive or try to deal with the chaos, which may point to the beginning of the loss of Hamas control in the southern Strip, as well.

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