Report: Hamas Leadership Panicked Over Defection to Israel of Top Operatives
A number of recent defections has Hamas in a panic, London-based pan-Arab news outlet Al Asharq al Awsat reported on Wednesday.
According to the report — first highlighted in English by pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon and quoted by the Palestine Press Agency — because there is no apparent link among the defectors – all of whom have absconded from Gaza to Israel and are sharing key information with Israeli security forces – it is proving difficult for the terrorist organization’s leadership to decipher a pattern and put a stop to the phenomenon.
As was reported in The Algemeiner last week, a senior member of Hamas – Bassam Mahmoud Baraka, from Khan Yunis – told his family he was going on an errand, and then turned up at the Gaza-Israel border, with his laptop in tow, and surrendered himself to the IDF. The Red Cross subsequently informed his family that he was in Israel.
Baraka, it was reported, is privy to significant details about how Hamas builds its terror tunnels, whose purpose is to conduct cross-border raids to kidnap and kill Israelis. So, too, are the three or four other high-ranking members of the terrorist organization who escaped to the Jewish state.
As a result, according to Al Asharq al Awsat, the Hamas leadership has instituted new rules to keep critical personnel away from the Israeli border.
Details of tunnel construction have also been revealed by Hamas operatives captured by Israel over the course of the year. In May, for example, a 17-year-old member of Hamas’ “military wing” who crossed the border into Israel, was apprehended and interrogated by the IDF, the Shin Bet and Israel Police. He revealed a wealth of information about the tunnels – including the fact that some of them contain showers, toilets, kitchens – and even rest and recreation facilities — to enable the diggers and terrorists planning massive attacks against Israel to remain underground for extensive periods of time.
In April, it was reported that Hamas was using more than 1,000 operatives to dig the tunnels – using smuggled building material and excavation machinery – and paying each a salary of $300-$400 per month. Meanwhile, as was reported by Israel Radio at the time, Hamas’s elite terror unit, Nukhbah, was conducting simulations of attacks on Israelis through the tunnels, many of which collapsed during the winter, possibly as a result of heavy rain. Several Hamas operatives have been killed in the tunnel collapses, for which Israel has denied responsibility.