Hamas in bid to reassume Gaza control

(JTA) — Hamas launched plans to reassume control in the Gaza Strip.

The terrorist group said it would handle reconstruction and aid in the wake of the end last week of its war with Israel.

The New York Times quoted a Hamas spokesman as saying it would begin distributing $35-40 million in aid starting Sunday.

Separately, the Jerusalem Post quoted Israeli defense officials as saying that Hamas has already assumed control of the 20 percent of tunnels to Egypt that were not destroyed by Israel during the war; Israel targeted the tunnels to end weapons smuggling, but left some intact because they housed gas pipes.

Israel wants European groups and the moderate West Bank-based Palestinian Authority to handle reconstruction and aid in Gaza, fearing that Hamas would consolidate support if it returned to those roles.

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