Defense officials: Palestinian group doesn't have much overseas experience.
By YAAKOV KATZ
Hamas has limited military capabilities overseas but can rely on other terrorist groups, such as Hizbullah, as part of its effort to strike at Israel in retaliation for last month’s assassination in Dubai of one of its top operatives, which has been attributed to the Mossad.Unlike Hizbullah, defense officials noted on Sunday, Hamas does not have much experience operating overseas.Hizbullah, with Iranian assistance, is believed by Israel to have been behind the bombing in 1992 of the Israeli Embassy in Argentina, in retaliation for the targeted killing of Abbas al-Musawi, the head of the guerrilla group, by Israel in southern Lebanon.Israel also holds the group responsible for the bombing two years later of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and wounded more than 300.Israel is now concerned that Hamas will increase its efforts to strike at Israeli targets overseas, in response to the assassination in Dubai of Mahmoud Mabhouh, one of the key operatives behind the smuggling of Iranian weapons into the Gaza Strip.Mabhouh helped found Hamas’s armed wing Izzadin Kassam in the 1980s, was behind the kidnapping in the first intifada of two Israeli soldiers and later established strong ties in Sudan, which he used to smuggle weaponry from Iran to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.He was reportedly responsible for the weapons convoy that, according to foreign reports, Israel bombed during Operation Cast Lead as it was making its way to Gaza through the Sudanese desert.AdvertisementThe assessment in Military Intelligence is that Hamas will try to strike at Israeli targets overseas, to avoid disrupting the status quo between Hamas in Gaza and Israel. Hamas is strongest overseas in Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon and could work together with Hizbullah to strike at Israel in other places as well.Israel has been on high alert in recent weeks ahead of the secondanniversary this month of the assassination of Hizbullah terrormastermind Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus, which the Islamist group alsocredits to Israel.A number of attempts by Hizbullah to avenge Mughniyeh’s death have beenthwarted, including a plot to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Baku,Azerbaijan, last year. Hizbullah is suspected of having been behind arecent bomb attack on an Israeli diplomatic convoy in Jordan.The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) has recently boosted security for Israeli officials traveling overseas.
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