Challenging Task Lies Ahead in Targeting Hamas Leadership Abroad

The intelligence agencies of Lebanon, Qatar, and Turkey have implemented stringent security measures to protect individuals associated with the Hamas movement. There is growing concern that the Israeli Mossad might attempt assassinations, prompting a need for heightened security.

The Israeli Mossad, under the leadership of David Barnea, is reportedly compiling a list of senior Hamas political leaders for potential targeted assassinations, aligning with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s directives.

Both the Prime Minister and Defense Minister Galant have openly issued threats against Hamas leaders abroad, with Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar joining in, stating, “We will eliminate senior Hamas officials in Qatar and Turkey as well, this is the Munich of our generation.”

However, a senior security source emphasizes the need to cease media discussions, asserting that such chatter hampers Israel’s intelligence efforts.

Hamas leaders abroad have reportedly taken notice, implementing strict security measures to avoid potential pitfalls that could be exploited by the Israeli Mossad.

While the Israeli public desires swift retaliation against Hamas leadership abroad, operational constraints mean that it will likely be a prolonged process.

In the interim, the focus remains on actions within the Gaza Strip by the IDF and Shin Bet.

Lebanon, Qatar, and Turkey are already on high alert against potential threats, with senior Qatari and Turkish intelligence officials privately communicating concerns to the Israeli Mossad.

Turkish President Erdogan has also issued a public warning against any harm to Hamas members on Turkish soil.

Security officials in Israel express concerns that if Hamas leadership is eliminated, the organization might shift its policy and engage in attacks abroad.

The absence of an established operational and intelligence infrastructure abroad, similar to Hezbollah or ISIS, may lead Hamas to collaborate with other entities like Hezbollah, Iran, or the “Muslim Brotherhood” movement.

However, internal divisions within Hamas leadership exist, with some opposing attacks abroad due to potential international backlash and damage to fundraising efforts in European countries and the US.

In preparation for potential escalation, Israel anticipates a lengthy and challenging campaign against Hamas leadership abroad.

Acknowledging the formidable intelligence capabilities of countries like Turkey and Qatar, caution is urged to avoid rushing into operations that could result in failed attempts and diplomatic repercussions.

Drawing from past experiences, particularly the failed 1996 assassination attempt of Hamas leader Khaled Mashal in Jordan, the importance of meticulous planning and strategic patience is highlighted.

The political echelon is encouraged to trust the Israeli Mossad’s professionalism and refrain from pressuring hasty actions in Qatar or Turkey. Instead, consideration should be given to starting operations in other regions where Hamas operatives may be more accessible from an intelligence and operational standpoint.

Reflecting on historical instances, such as the prolonged effort to eliminate the leaders of “Black September,” the terrorist organization responsible for the 1972 Munich massacre, it is emphasized that the process of targeting Hamas leadership abroad will require time and perseverance.

In conclusion, while the elimination of Hamas leadership abroad is expected to be a protracted undertaking, the anticipation of surprises in the near future adds an element of uncertainty to the situation.

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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