Established in 1987, the organization has historically refrained from conducting terrorist attacks beyond the borders of the territories it considers “Occupied Palestine,” encompassing Judea and Samaria, the Gaza Strip, and areas within the State of Israel.
The Israeli security establishment had anticipated this change in policy, predicting that as Hamas faced potential defeat in the Gaza Strip conflict against the IDF, it would seek new fronts to target Israel.
The recent wave of arrests in European countries attests to this shift in strategy.
On December 14, the Danish police apprehended seven suspected Hamas operatives planning a terrorist attack in the country.
The thwarting of the attack was attributed to intelligence cooperation with Israel, specifically involving the Mossad and Shin Bet.
Similarly, in Germany, four Hamas operatives were arrested on suspicion of planning attacks against Jewish institutions.
It appears that Hamas is deliberately choosing to carry out attacks in Europe, possibly as a means to influence public opinion on the continent against Israel.
This departure from its historical focus may indicate a response to the organization’s weakened position following the Gaza conflict.
The Prime Minister of Denmark emphasized the seriousness of the thwarted terrorist plan, highlighting the elevated risk faced by Denmark.
This series of attempted attacks suggests that Hamas is in the process of establishing terrorist infrastructures to carry out operations in European countries.
Unlike organizations like Hezbollah or ISIS, Hamas lacks a well-established operational and intelligence infrastructure abroad.
However, it may leverage the intelligence networks of Hezbollah, Iran, or the global “Muslim Brotherhood” movement.
Following the October 7 attack by Hamas terrorists on Israeli civilians and soldiers near the Gaza Strip, which garnered international condemnation, the organization’s image has suffered.
In recent years, Hamas sought recognition from European countries, but its current distress has led it to explore alternative ways to harm Israel.
The Israeli Mossad, in an official statement, asserted that “Hamas is now striving to expand its operational capabilities around the world, particularly in Europe, to realize its ambitions of targeting Israeli, Jewish, and Western interests at any cost.”
Since October 7, several countries, notably in Europe, have increased intelligence cooperation with the Israeli Mossad to thwart potential terrorist attacks by Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas on their soil.
Simultaneously, security measures for Jewish and Israeli institutions and individuals worldwide have been heightened.