Egypt’s Efforts to Curb Targeted Assassinations of Terrorist Leaders

Recent developments indicate Egypt's active involvement in preventing potential targeted assassinations of key terrorist leaders. Specifically, Israel declined an Egyptian plea to commit to avoiding a reversion to the practice of targeted killings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders. With the leaders of these terrorist organizations retreating into hiding in Gaza due to their apprehensions of Israeli strikes, they've taken unprecedented precautions in regions such as Syria and Lebanon.

In response to Israel’s security cabinet’s strategic decisions on innovative approaches against Palestinian terrorism in Judea and Samaria, concerns are mounting within Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

There are apprehensions that Israel might plan targeted assassinations of senior Palestinian officials abroad through the Israeli Mossad, while keeping a low profile, a move aimed at making it challenging to trace these actions back to Israel, thereby amplifying Israeli deterrence.

Egypt has intervened to mitigate this Israeli strategy.

Despite Hamas sources indicating that Egypt’s attempts were met with resistance, Israel refused to assure the Egyptians that it would abstain from revisiting the targeted assassination approach.

Egypt escalated its diplomatic efforts to prevent any security escalation that could potentially spill over to the Gaza Strip border and spark fresh rounds of conflict.

Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad have conveyed their messages to Israel through Egypt, warning that any assassination of high-ranking Palestinians in Gaza or abroad could lead to “unprecedented and explosive” repercussions, potentially even triggering a regional war.

Within this complex context, sources from the Gaza Strip disclosed that Hamas rejected an Israeli proposal, relayed through Egypt, which demanded an end to terrorist activities in Judea and Samaria.

Meanwhile, leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad are not banking on the outcome of Egyptian mediation.

Fearing Israeli assassinations, they’ve gone into hiding both within the Gaza Strip and abroad.

Hamas officials stressed that the armed struggle against Israel would persist in Judea and Samaria until there’s a complete Israeli withdrawal from the region, similar to Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

Their stance maintains that in any future confrontation with Israel, a full Israeli pullback from Judea and Samaria would be a primary condition for a ceasefire.

Saleh al-Arouri, the commander of Hamas’s military wing in Judea and Samaria, asserted in an August 24th statement to Al-Aqsa channel that “resistance against the occupation will endure until its eviction and the removal of settlers from the entire West Bank, mirroring their expulsion from the Gaza Strip.”

Al-Arouri, along with Ziad Al-Nakhala, the Islamic Jihad’s Secretary-General, and Akram al-Ajouri, the head of the “Saraya Al-Quds” military wing, tops the list of potential Israeli assassination targets.

Prominent Israeli security officials contend that Hamas bears responsibility for the upsurge in terrorism across Judea and Samaria.

The Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, reportedly thwarted numerous Hamas-orchestrated attacks from Gaza, while the group engaged in vigorous anti-Israel incitement on social media platforms.

On the Israeli political front, a consensus has emerged that reverting to targeted assassinations is an inescapable measure due to the wave of Hamas-led terrorism against IDF soldiers and settlers in Judea and Samaria.

Yoni Ben Menachem Senior Middle East Analyst

About Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem is a Middle East senior analyst ,a journalist and
the former CEO of the Israel Broadcasting Authority(IBA). He has
decades of experience in written and video journalism. Ben
Menachem’s path in the media world began as a producer for
Japanese television in the Middle East. After that, he held many key
positions in the media The Israeli: CEO of the Israel Broadcasting
Authority, director of “Kol Israel” Radio, reporter on West Bank and
Gaza Strip affairs, political reporter and commentator, commentator
on Middle East affairs and editor-in-chief and presenter of the
program “Middle East Magazine”. 

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