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Israel to 'hunt Hamas leaders in Lebanon, Qatar, Turkey'

Israel's Shin Bet vows to hunt down Hamas in Lebanon, Qatar, Turkey: audio leak
2 min read
04 December, 2023
Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar - who has not spoken publicly since 7 October - also took responsibility for Israeli security failures that contributed to the Hamas attack.
Israel has reportedly vowed to target Hamas leaders such as Khaled Meshal and Ismail Haniyeh [Getty]

The head of Israel's domestic security agency Shin Bet has vowed to hunt down members Hamas in Lebanon, Turkey, and Qatar, according to a leaked recording.

Israel's public broadcaster Kan aired the audio on Sunday, where Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar can be heard saying: "The cabinet has set us a goal, in street talk, to eliminate Hamas.

"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."

It was unclear when Bar made the remarks, or to whom, while then agency itself declined to comment on the report.

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Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas since launching its air and ground assault on Gaza which has killed more than 15,500 people, including over 6,000 children.

Israel has bombed Hamas for nearly two months after Hamas fighters launched an attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people.

Other than in Gaza, Hamas leaders reside in or frequently visit Lebanon, Turkey and Qatar.

Qatar helped to mediate a week-long truce that saw hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and dozens of Israeli hostages released. The truce broke down on Friday.

Bar's comments appear to be the first time that a senior Israeli figure has vowed that Israel will target Hamas figures in Qatar or Turkey, Kan reported.

Bar, who has not spoken publicly since 7 October, took some responsibility for the security failure during the attack.

"The security responsibility is ours. Our duty is to provide both security and a sense of security. Unfortunately on 7 October we were unable to do it," Bar said.

Taher al-Nono, media advisor to the head of Hamas' political bureau, brushed off Bar's comments, saying: "The threats… do not frighten any of the movement’s leaders."

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that Israeli officials had said they plan to assassinate Hamas officials in Lebanon, Qatar and Turkey.

Israel has carried out assassination of Palestinian leaders in the Middle East, Europe and beyond since its creation in 1948.

(The New Arab, Reuters)