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September 8, 2015 8:00 am

Israeli General: Hamas Seeking to Increase Influence in West Bank, Surpass Salafists in Gaza

avatar by David Daoud

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IDF Maj.-Gen. Sami Turgeman at the annual conference of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism. Photo: Facebook.

IDF Maj.-Gen. Sami Turgeman at the annual conference of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism. Photo: Facebook.

A senior Israeli commander said that the primary goal of terror group Hamas is to “put an end to Israel, to take over the PLO and to expand its influence into the West Bank,” Israeli news site Walla reported on Monday.

Speaking at the 15th annual conference of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (of Herzliya’s Inderdisciplinary Center), Maj.-Gen. Sami Turgeman, the commander of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Southern Command, also addressed the complexities of the challenges Hamas is facing today. Among them: facing opposition from Fatah in the West Bank and Salafist organizations in Gaza, while at the same time cooperating with ISIS operatives in the Sinai.

Turgeman pointed out that while in the past Hamas symbolized Islamic religious resistance, it is now the Salafist organizations who “are adhering to a more stringent religious faith, which looks at conventional Muslims as infidels.”

To meet these challenges to its grip on power, he said, Hamas has been trying to keep channels open to all regional players — the Iranians, the Turks, the Egyptians and the Saudis — “to build up its strength for the day of reckoning.”

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