Uniformed Hamas security teams emerged on Gaza City’s streets Monday as leaders of the Islamic militant group vowed to restore order in the shattered Palestinian territory after a three-week pummeling by the Israeli military. Hamas proclaimed it won a great victory over the Jewish state — a view that appeared greatly exaggerated — and the task of reconstruction faced deep uncertainty because of the fear of renewed fighting and Israel’s control over border crossings.
By IBRAHIM BARZAK and CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA, Associated Press
Cars and pedestrians again clogged streets. Donkey carts hauled produce and firewood past rubble and broken glass. The parliament building and other targets of Israeli attacks were piles of debris, while orange and olive groves on the edge of town were flattened.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon planned to travel to Gaza on Tuesday to inspect damage and visit U.N. facilities hit in the fighting. Ban did not scheduled meetings with officials from Hamas, whose government is not internationally recognized.
Israelis hope Gaza’s civilians, who suffered heavily in the fighting that ended Sunday, will blame their militant rulers for provoking the Israeli assault with rocket attacks on southern Israel. Hamas, however, raced to capitalize on anger toward Israel and sought to show it remains unbowed and firmly in command of the Mediterranean coastal strip.
“We are still ready and capable of firing more rockets. We are developing the range of our rockets and the enemy will face more…