Israel charges Hamas interior minister ordering terror attacks despite ceasefire

Special to

JERUSALEM — Hamas’ interior minister has been identified as the new
leader of insurgency operations in Israel and the West Bank.

The Israel Security Agency said Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad was
relaying orders for attacks in the West Bank in wake of the mini-war with
the Islamist regime in November 2012.

Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad.
Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad.

Officials said Hamad was believed to have taken much of the authority of Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari, killed in an Israeli strike during the eight-day conflict that ended with an Egyptian-sponsored ceasefire.

“The activities of Hamad — one of the senior leaders of Hamas in Gaza,
and an interior minister who is obligated to maintain quiet — is a gross
violation of the ceasefire agreement,” ISA said. “This also illustrates the
extent of the involvement by senior Hamas members in setting up terror
attacks against targets in the West Bank and Israel, despite their
commitments to Egypt to uphold a truce.”

In a statement on March 13, ISA said Hamad was working with his faction, called Defenders of Al Aqsa, as well as Hamas units to plan attacks in Israel and the West Bank. Hamad was said to have directed bombings, abductions and rocket attacks by new cells in the West Bank.

Hamad was said to be leading advocate of a renewal of suicide bombings
in Israel. Officials said Hamad has raised his profile and intensified
coordination with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, assigned to
build Hamas forces.

The information on Hamad was said to have been based on ISA
interrogation of alleged Hamas operatives in 2012 and 2013. ISA said the
detainees said they had received orders and guidance from Hamad aides.

Hamad communicated with the new cells in the West Bank through e-mails
and telephone, ISA said. The West Bank detainees were said to have told ISA
that Hamad facilitated training on weapons and recruitment.

One operation said directed by Hamad was for the abduction and killing
of an Israeli soldier. ISA said the West Bank cells were ordered to bury the
soldier in a remote location while Hamas sought to negotiate a prisoner
release. So far, there have not been reports of a Hamas abduction.

“They received concrete instructions to kidnap a soldier, take his
identity and cellphone for negotiations, and then kill and bury him at a
hideout,” the statement.

ISA also said the Hamad-sponsored cells were ordered to recruit suicide
bombers. The agency said some of the Hamad agents were captured days before
these operations.

Officials said Hamas cells were located near Ramallah. They said Hamad
recruited operatives, including specialists in missile production, in such
area villages as Ras Karkar and Silwad.

“Hamad is activating his associates, Hamas members, who work on his
behalf, and through the Defenders of Al Aqsa group established by him,”
ISA said.

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