According to Sunday morning Arab media reports, Hamas has carried out a general mobilization of all its security forces, including the military wing of the organization, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, in order to confront the demonstrators in the Gaza Strip.
The official PA news agency WAFA reported that Hamas militias raided early Sunday morning the homes of PLO activists in the Gaza Strip and detained dozens of people involved in the popular movement against high prices and tax hikes, according to witnesses.
According to the same sources, Hamas is perceiving for the first time a threat to its rule and has decided to suppress the demonstrations and end them at any cost.
In a press release, Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qasem blamed the catastrophic economic situation on the PA’s punitive measures on Gaza, which have worsened the already bad “12-year siege imposed by the Israeli occupation on the impoverished territory.”
Qasem condemned the PA’s sanctions on Gaza as a national, moral, and humanitarian crime aimed at targeting the Palestinian home front.
Last week, PA officials called on Qatar to stop sending funds to Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Jamal Muhaisen, a member of Fatah Central Committee, described the transfer of these funds to the Strip as a conspiracy against the national project and a violation of all resolutions issued during Arab and Islamic summits.
According to WAFA, masked Hamas militias raided homes in Gaza City and Jabaliya refugee camp in the north, Deir al-Balah in the center and Khan Younis and Rafah in the south where they ransacked homes and rounded up several people before taking them into custody.
They said that targeted in this campaign were mainly Fatah members and those who were not home during the raid were given summons to appear before Hamas forces.
WAFA said the militias have also set up checkpoints on the roads and inspected cars and ID cards of passengers. The popular protests against the dismal living conditions in Gaza have been raging for four days. Hamas has mobilized all its forces to crush the protests, an act strongly denounced by local and international human rights groups.