Thursday , April 25 2024

‘Israel will hunt down Hamas in Lebanon, Turkey & Qatar’


JERUSALEM: Israel will hunt down Hamas in Lebanon, Turkey and Qatar even if it takes years, the head of Israel’s domestic security agency Shin Bet said in a recording aired by Israel’s public broadcaster Kan yesterday.

It was unclear when Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar made the remarks or to whom.

The agency itself declined to comment on the report.

“The cabinet has set us a goal, in street talk, to eliminate Hamas. This is our Munich. We will do this everywhere, in Gaza, in the West Bank, in Lebanon, in Turkey, in Qatar. It will take a few years but we will be there to do it.”

By Munich, Bar was referring to Israel’s response to the 1972 killing of 11 Israeli Olympic team members when gunmen from the Palestinian Black September group launched an attack on the Munich games.

Israel responded by carrying out a targeted assassination campaign against Black September operatives and organizers over several years and in several countries.

Israel has vowed to annihilate Hamas after its gunmen on Oct. 7 burst through the border with Gaza, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 240 hostage.

More than 15,500 people have been killed so far during Israel’s offensive in Gaza since, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

Other than in Gaza, Hamas leaders reside in or frequently visit Lebanon, Turkey and Qatar. Qatar helped to mediate a week-long truce that broke down on Friday.

Over the years, various countries have offered some protection for Hamas, designated a terrorist group by Australia, Canada, the European Union, Israel, Japan and the United States.

In 1997, Israeli Mossad agents botched the poisoning of then-Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Jordan. Israel had to give Jordan an antidote to save Meshaal’s life. Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu was prime minister at the time.

The militant group designated a terrorist organization by many countries invaded from the Gaza Strip and launched rockets at Israeli communities, killing about 1,200 people and taking approximately 200 hostages. The Israeli government subsequently declared war on Hamas, launching aerial assaults on the densely populated strip, which is home to over 2 million Palestinians. More than 11,000 Palestinians reportedly have been killed in Gaza so far, based on figures from the Ministry of Health in Hamas-run Gaza.

The invasion touched off the latest crisis in a conflict between Israelis and Palestinians that spans well over a century and has been punctuated by periods of violence and shifting land boundaries, but rarely prolonged peace. It’s embroiled other nations in the region and abroad, posing thorny questions centered on respective rights of self-determination.

These are some of the key historical events for understanding the conflict, based on information from the Council on Foreign Relations and the UN, along with additional sources. (Int’l News Desk)

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