'Israel infiltrated Hamas leadership'

Group probing whether Israel also got into Damascus security services.

By BY KHALED ABU TOAMEH
February 3, 2010 01:27
2 minute read.
Palestinians carry a picture of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh

Mabhouh. (photo credit: Associated Press)

The mysterious death of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai last month has prompted Hamas to launch an internal investigation to determine whether Israel has managed to infiltrate the highest echelons of the Islamist movement, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip revealed on Tuesday.

“The assassination of someone as senior as Mabhouh has rung an alarm bell in Hamas,” the official told The Jerusalem Post. “Only a few people in the Hamas leadership knew about Mabhouh’s secret activities and movements.”

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The official said that many Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip and Syria were convinced that the Mossad has infiltrated the movement’s top ranks. “Obviously, the assassination of Mabhouh is a huge security blunder for Hamas, because it shows that the Israeli agents are sitting among our leaders in Damascus.”

The Hamas official said Hamas was also looking into the possibility that Israel has infiltrated the Syrian security services, which are responsible for the safety of the leaders of all the radical Palestinian groups based in Damascus, including Hamas.

“We don’t rule out the possibility that the Israelis or some other security agency that works with them have recruited a senior Syrian intelligence officer who feeds them with details about the movements and whereabouts of representatives of Hamas and other groups, particularly Hizbullah,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hamas appears to be divided over the question of whether it should attack Israeli and Jewish targets around the world to avenge the killing of its top operative.

Some Hamas officials warned that “exporting” the fight against Israel to the international arena would jeopardize the movement’s efforts to seek recognition by the West.

A Hamas representative in the West Bank urged his movement to abide by its long-standing policy of refraining from attacking Israeli and Jewish targets outside the Palestinian territories and Israel.

He predicted that despite the threats, Hamas would not “change the rules of the game” by carrying out terrorist attacks abroad.

Hamas’s “foreign minister,” Osama Hamdan, hinted that his movement has no intention to launch terrorist attacks on Israelis and Jews around the world. “Hamas won’t be dragged to the square where the Israelis want to take us,” he said. “Hamas makes its decisions in a balanced manner and in accordance with the interests of the Palestinian people.”

Hamdan, who is Hamas’s representative in Lebanon, said his movement does not make hasty decisions based on “emotional” considerations.

Shortly after blaming Israel for the killing of Mabhouh, a number of senior Hamas officials, including Mahmoud Zahar, declared that their movement would seek revenge outside Israel and the Palestinian territories. Hamas’s armed wing, Izzadin Kassam, issued a similar threat.


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