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Hamas faces growing public dissent as Gaza war erodes support

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"I'm one of you," he says, "but you are a cowardly people. We could have avoided this attack!" Open criticism of Hamas has been growing in Gaza, both on the streets and online. Some have publicly criticised Hamas for hiding the hostages in apartments near a busy marketplace, or for firing rockets from civilian areas. Residents have told the BBC that swearing and cursing against the Hamas leadership is now common in the markets, and that some drivers of donkey carts have even nicknamed their animals after the Hamas leader in Gaza - Yahya Sinwar - urging the donkeys forward with shouts of "Yallah, Sinwar!" "People say things like, 'Hamas has destroyed us' or even call on God to take their lives," one man said. "They ask what the 7 October attacks were for - some say they were a gift to Israel." Some are even urging their leaders to agree a ceasefire with Israel. There are still those in Gaza fiercely loyal to Hamas and after years of repressive control, it's difficult to know how far the group is losing support, or how far existing opponents feel more able to speak their mind. But even some on the group's own payroll are wavering. One senior Hamas government employee told the BBC that the Hamas attacks were "a crazy, uncalculated leap". He asked that we concealed his identity. "I know from my work with the Hamas government that it prepared well for the attack militarily, but it neglected the home front," he said. "They did not build any safe shelters for people, they did not reserve enough food, fuel and medical supplies. If my family and I survive this war, I will leave Gaza, the first chance I get."

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