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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 June 2007, 21:18 GMT 22:18 UK
Gazans: Life with Hamas
With Hamas securing effective control of the Gaza Strip, Palestinians react to the prospect of being ruled by the Islamic militant group.


Map of Gaza

Hamas militants are putting checkpoints along the main road of the Gaza Strip.

My staff in Khan Younis and in Rafah rang me to say Hamas had set fire to security forces' bases there.

Hamas have declared they will collect weapons from the security forces. They have a list of names. Their spokesman said this was the "second liberation" of Gaza.

But I know Hamas won't behave responsibly. They will take revenge on people from Fatah, and then big families will want to take their revenge on them.

These people [Hamas] don't think of the day after. They don't understand international politics.

They think Gaza is the centre of the world - but they don't know it doesn't even appear on the map. They talk as if they are building an Islamic caliphate again.

I am not surprised at the speed with which they have taken over. There was no plan at all from [Palestinian President] Abbas' side on how to defend themselves.

The way it's happened suggests it was planned a long time ago.

RA'EDA, 26, RAFAH, GAZA STRIP (From BBCArabic.com)

Hamas militants in Rafah
Hamas militants celebrating in Rafah

It is calm now in Rafah, maybe it is the calm before the storm. We are standing on the edge of a precipice. But for now, things are quiet.

I rarely leave home these days because I'm afraid of what might happen. Leaving your house is a gamble and I don't go out unless I have to.

Someone in a car belonging to the Qassam brigade [Hamas' military wing] announced through a loudspeaker earlier today that we would be safe if we stayed at home.

Government forces seem to have no role and the Qassam brigades control security.

I am a student but the security situation has forced me and others to miss taking our exams.

Personally, I don't support Fatah or Hamas. I hope this situation will end soon so that we can focus on the fundamental issue which is demanding the creation of a Palestinian state.


Map of Gaza

Hamas is in control of the whole middle area here: including Nusseirat and al-Bureij camps.

Hamas now controls all Mahmoud Abbas' presidential guards' posts. The only posts the Palestinian Authority security forces still control are the police headquarters.

Since its landslide victory, Hamas has been trying to control the way of life in the strip.

In the media they say they won't change anything but I think their hardline agenda is to change everything.

There is evidence for this in the Islamic University: male and female students are separated and women have to wear veils and head scarves.

I voted for Fatah despite their corruption, because I believe in secular states and in the peace process. I want to keep the peace with Israel.

I am really afraid of Hamas taking over Gaza.

We, as Palestinians, know that they are not committed to the welfare of the Palestinian people. They have orders from regional countries such as Iran and Syria.

I was about to travel to Malaysia to continue my masters degree but the Rafah crossing is now closed. The Israelis are watching what's happening very closely.

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