The IDF last week also released photos and video showing young men holding guns in the air – militants handing in weapons after their surrender from Kamal Adwan hospital, it alleged. But the staffers interviewed by CNN said the men were actually civilians sheltering in the hospital after being displaced from other parts of Gaza.

“We told them there weren’t any resistance fighters in the hospital, and no one listened to us,” Tanteesh said.

The guns that they were pictured with had belonged to hospital security guards, according to Abu Safiya and Sabbah. “I saw with my own eyes that the army asked the displaced civilian youth and the medical team to carry the weapons of the security guards that were left in the hospital guard room, and they took pictures of them in front of me,” Abu Safiya said.

How does one become an armed guard in Gaza? Do they have to be Hamas for that or not?

(According to the answer to a related Q, gun ownership in Gaza is low, so it's pretty hard to hire "Joe neighbor with his own gun" to act as a guard.)

  • 3
    "How does one become an armed guard in Gaza?" Is this a trick question? I guess the answer is that one becomes that in the same way as everywhere else. It's hard to believe that Hamas had the complete monopoly on arms and guards in Gaza. There might have been an armed guard not being Hamas somewhere in Gaza. An especially for a hospital I think this may even been likely. Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 13:51
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    Are we talking about Israel's conception of Hamas or the group that calls itself Hamas? Israel certainly wants you to think everyone and everything is Hamas. Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 14:55
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    I don't see how the quote form CNN and the question are related. The quote is clearly about civilians who had been forced to take guns from security guards by the IDF and not about the guards themselves. Thus, whether every security guard is a member of Hamas or not, is no way linked to the quote.
    – Ben Cohen
    Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 20:00
  • There are dozens of armed militias active in Gaza, not just Hamas. The total number of active fighters in Gaza is estimated at roughly 150,000 (not counting their support networks) out of which only some estimated 30,000 are Hamas fighters.
    – user48321
    Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 20:57
  • @Servaes If you can give some sources for these claims, I'd say that this fully answers the question. You could consider making it an answer then. Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 8:58

2 Answers 2


According to the European Council On Foreign Relations, the Fatah security forces refused to work under Hamas' rule, therefore the Gaza police is currently made up of armed Hamas members as well as members of other smaller factions in Gaza.



The answer is yes, there is a Palestinian police force in Gaza. They wear distinctive blue uniforms:

enter image description here

They are salaried by the Palestinian Authority and as such are affiliated with Fatah and not Hamas. There are (were) also private security firms operating in Gaza.

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    Hmm, the first link says such forces were "ready to deploy" in Gaza, not that are present there. The 2nd link seems far more useful/on-topic. I suggest you quote something from that instead of this misleading photo. Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 12:30
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    Are you sure "Gaza's authority" doesn't mean Hamas in AA-speak? Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 12:39
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    According to ecfr.eu/special/mapping_palestinian_politics/civil_police "In Gaza, the Civil Police force is made up is made up of members of the armed wings of Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees (PRCs), as well as members of smaller factions in Gaza. [...] The PRC form the third largest armed group in Gaza, after Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades (IQB) and Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades (AQB)." Interestingly, Hamas excluded not only Fatah, but also the PIJ from the Gaza police. Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 14:21
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    Western newspapers reported as early as 2007 that Hamas bolstered the Gaza police with its own men "Hamas has bolstered the police force with about 400 members of its so-called Executive Force and militants on loan from its armed wing, the Ezzedine al Qassam Brigades." because the Fatah led/based police was seen as too corrupt and compliant with clan demands. It's hard to know how many non-Hamas remain the Gaza police today. I cold not easily find figures for that. Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 15:25
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    15 years go. Hard to find recent numbers, like I said. Commented Dec 27, 2023 at 16:41

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