Bearded Hamas leaders on Friday delivered an envelope with five $100 bills to a veiled woman whose house was damaged during Israel’s invasion of Gaza, the first of promised relief payments by the militant group. In another part of the territory, a bulldozer cleared rubble and filled in a bomb crater where a week before a top Hamas leader had been killed in an air strike.
After a truce ended Israel’s three-week onslaught, Hamas rulers have declared victory and gone out of their way to show they are in control. They have pledged $52 million to help repair lives.
“We are in control and we are the winner,” Hamas legislator Mushir al-Masri said this week.
The strikes destroyed all of Hamas’ security compounds and most government buildings. Its top leaders, strongman Mahmoud Zahar and Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, have not yet appeared in public.
While Israel said over 700 Hamas fighters were killed, the militants said they lost about 280, the vast majority members of the police force, on day one of the war.