GAZA, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- For the first time in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, hotels, banks and other institutions can depend on a private firm to provide security services for personnel and assets.
Secure Land, a newly formed security company, has attracted the attention of companies, businessmen and tourist institutions interested in the benefits of armed and unarmed security services in a region that suffers from bouts of security lapses due to the ongoing conflict with Israel.
"We started this company three years ago, but it came to light just four months ago," said Abdul Qader al-Arbid, director general of the company.
Arbid said his company provides guard and patrol services, such as bodyguard, security guard services as well as transportation services for banks transferring cash.
"Our services focus on the protection of personnel and assets," Arbid added.
The company's guards made their first appearance last week when they accompanied the Palestinian winner of the Arab Idol singing competition, Mohammed Assaf, during his visit in Gaza.
The services Arbid's company provides fills a gap in the country as Hamas, which has been controlling the enclave since 2007, does not provide security guards to private institutions like banks and hotels, nor to members of international aid organizations.
However, the idea of a private security company wasn't an easy sell for a society that embraces tens of armed groups, which have been clashing with Israel for decades.
"We only work with the private sector," Arbid said. "This is how security companies work across the world."
To avoid any problems with the government in Gaza and the other political factions, the company has decided to employ young men who are not affiliated with any political groups.
Public workers are also excluded from working for the company, Arbid said.
The firm has so far employed 32 security officers who have received physical, security and weapons training.
The company received permission from the Hamas authority to obtain light weapons that are used in limited missions.
Like most of Gaza's companies, the Secure Land firm suffers from a lack of necessary equipment due to the closure of borders by Gaza's neighbors, Egypt and Israel.
"We need some technological equipment like cameras and protection gear that are necessary for the job. We also cannot get armored vehicles because Israel has banned their entry into Gaza," Arbid added.
For Hamas, the idea of having security companies is welcomed.
"We have no problems to have such companies here. We are ready to support and help them in their job," said Islam Shawan, spokesman for the Interior Ministry of Hamas, though he added the place of security companies as a legal entity is being discussed in parliament.