311_Palestinian internet cafe.
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip have warned their supporters against using
the Ikariam online strategy game on the pretext that the Shin Bet (Israel
Security Agency) uses it to recruit Palestinians as collaborators.
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popular game is set in the era of classical Greece on an archipelago, where
players have to manage their resources to extend their imperium from a small
settlement on a forsaken island to a complex network of cities and
The warning, the first of its kind, came after a young
Palestinian man complained to Hamas’s “Internal Security Apparatus” that he had
been asked by anonymous players of the online game to provide them with
information about armed groups in the Gaza Strip.
The man told Hamas
security officers that a player he met through the game’s chat box had
transferred the sum of $200 to his bank account and asked him to collect the
According to the Palestinian, the player claimed that he was
from one of the Gulf countries, and that he only wanted to help him because he
lives in the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian said that when he refused to
provide the information, the anonymous player started threatening to kill
A security official in the Gaza Strip told the local Safa news
agency that the Hamas authorities were convinced the Shin Bet was using the online game to recruit Palestinians as
“They especially target the young people – men and women
alike,” the official said, referring to the Shin Bet. “Israel has never
hesitated to use modern technology to recruit agents to its security
According to the Hamas authorities, investigations have shown
that suspected Israeli security personnel have used nicknames like “Asheq
al-Shahada” (Lover of Martyrdom), “Al- Kannas” (The Sniper) and “Fursan
al-Shahada” (Knights of Martyrdom) to register as players on the Ikariam
“First they talk with Palestinian players about the game, but
after a short while they start asking questions about the resistance groups, and
where they are located,” the Hamas security official said. A warning had been
issued to all Internet users in the Gaza Strip against falling into the trap of
Israel, he added.
Hamas recently announced that its security forces had
arrested a senior member of an armed militia in the Gaza Strip on suspicion of
collaboration with Israel.
The suspect, whose identity was not revealed,
is said to have provided Israel with vital information about the Islamic Jihad
organization and its terrorists and weapons.
Hamas claimed that the
“collaborator” was one of Israel’s most important agents in the Gaza Strip.