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Hamas reportedly reasserting control in Khan Younis and other parts of Gaza after IDF withdrawal

IDF continues ‘precise operations’ in other Gaza Strip areas ahead of Rafah incursion

Khan Younis, in southern Gaza Strip, a day after the Israeli army withdrew from the area, April 8, 2024. (Photo: Atia Mohammed/Flash90)

Four days after the official withdrawal of most Israeli forces from Khan Younis, Palestinians in Gaza were already reporting the return of Hamas police and security agents into the neighborhood. 

According to the reports, the Hamas operatives are not armed with rifles or pistols, however, citizens say it is clear who the forces are. The groups of enforcers are often seen with masks and carrying batons. 

With limited IDF presence in Khan Younis, Hamas enforcers have returned to regain control. Reports from Gaza show a stabilization in food prices at the markets after the return of the Hamas police. 

The return of the Hamas enforcers demonstrates the difficulty of Israel’s strategy of defeating Hamas as a military organization. While Hamas does have a military wing, it also handles many civic functions, such as policing and municipal utilities. However, many of those involved in political functions for Hamas may also support Hamas’ military and terror activities. 

So far, the IDF has not attempted to kill or capture Hamas enforcers or political officers, unless they have a clear connection to terror activities. 

Recent pictures posted to social media from Khan Younis showed the beginning of repair to some of the destroyed infrastructure, such as water and sewage lines. 

Military analysts have said that Hamas is attempting to demonstrate that it is still a viable authority and that despite the war, it still retains power in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli leaders have repeatedly stated that the military operation in Khan Younis ended for operational reasons and to prepare for an upcoming operation in Rafah and is not a sign of a larger withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. 

The remaining IDF battalion in the Khan Younis area, according to the IDF, is to prevent Palestinians from returning to the north.

Meanwhile, in the background of the stalled hostage negotiations, the IDF is reportedly planning new operations in areas of the Gaza Strip outside of Rafah. 

Overnight, IDF troops began striking in the Nuseirat neighborhood between Khan Younis and Gaza City, which has not seen any military operations to date, and reportedly still has a functioning Hamas battalion. 

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who was interviewed on Army Radio Thursday morning, said, “We broke Hamas, we will also need to continue fighting terrorism and intensify operations in Rafah, Deir al-Balah, and Nusirat - part of this begins today.” 

At the time of publication, the IDF released a statement confirming the beginning of a “precise operation” in the area of Nuseirat. 

“Overnight, the 162nd Division began a precise, intelligence-based operation to eliminate terrorist operatives and strike terrorist infrastructure in central Gaza,” the statement said. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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