Hamas Leaders Flee Qatar, Enter Hiding, After Israel Declares They'll Be Hunted Down

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Dec 13, 2023 - 03:15 PM

Following the end of the weeklong Israel-Hamas truce, there were international efforts to revive the Doha-based negotiations, but to no avail. Since then, Israel's military has only expanded ground operations to the south of the Gaza Strip, where tanks have been seen in the center of Khan Younis amid fierce fighting.

After earlier this month Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered Mossad negotiators home from Qatar, there were still hopes that behind-the-scenes efforts at mediating another temporary truce could be salvaged. But these have been dashed on reports that key Hamas officials involved in the talks have also exited Qatar this week.

"Several Hamas leaders left Qatar for an unknown destination, turning off their phones and not accepting calls, KAN's Arabic language channel reported citing sources in Doha on Tuesday evening," The Jerusalem Post writes.

"Additionally, on Tuesday, KAN news reported that Saleh al-Arouri, a senior member of Hamas, left his usual residence in Beirut for Turkey," the report continues.

Palestinian and other regional sources have also suggested that Hamas officials are fleeing their hideouts abroad, after Israel's government made clear it would target and hunt down Hamas operatives abroad.

According to The Messenger, "Top Hamas leaders have reportedly left their luxury safe haven in Doha, the Qatari capital, according to a report from Israel’s KAN state radio’s Arabic Service, and may be headed to Algiers or Tehran to evade capture or assassination at the hands of Israel."

One Palestinian news source said that top Hamas officials, who have for years lived in luxury in Qatar as a kind of government in exile, could no longer have their safety guaranteed. While it remains unconfirmed, Gaza Report details the following

More details on this matter: 3 top officials suddenly vacated their offices in Doha and left the country. They took with them their drivers and advisors, and they completely disconnected their phones. Their destination, whether it be Beirut, Algiers, or Tehran is not confirmed.

These developments suggest that there is no connection now with either the political leadership or the Gaza military leadership and any discussions of a ceasefire that were raised by the Israelis recently are not realistic until contact is reestablished.

If accurate, Hamas' top leadership essentially going "underground" would mean any realistic attempts at peace negotiations would be all but impossible. Qatar and other third party countries have reportedly been pressing for new ceasefire dialogue. Israeli leaders have appeared to shut the door on the possibility for the time being, after Netanyahu pledged to see through his stated goal of completely eradicating Hamas.

Hamas leadership, including top chief Ismail Haniyeh, has long been criticized for staying in luxury hotels abroad while Gazans suffer the effects of their decision-making...

Just last week, Israel signaled it is prepared to take the war on Hamas far beyond the confines of Gaza and the West Bank. The country's security chief referenced "our Munich" in relation to planned efforts to hunt down notable Hamas operatives residing in foreign states.

"The cabinet has set us a goal, in street talk, to eliminate HamasThis is our Munich. We will do this everywhere, in Gaza, in the West Bank, in Lebanon, in Turkey, in Qatar," said Ronen Bar, who is the head of Israel's domestic security agency Shin Bet. He emphasized, "It will take a few years but we will be there to do it." Israel has long been known to conduct aggressive and high risk assassination campaigns abroad, especially in Iran of late.

"Our Munich" is in reference to Israeli intelligence's most famous targeted assassination covert operation in history, in response to the 1972 killings of 11 Israeli Olympic team members. Terrorists belonging to the Palestinian Black September had launched an unprecedented attack on the Munich games. Some eight members of the radical group had breached the Olympic compound and entered the two apartments used by the Israeli team, after which they began executing athletes amid a hostage standoff.

From there began a process on the part of Israeli intelligence to hunt down the Munich killers over a period of several years and spanning different countries. Israeli intelligence had dubbed the covert operation - details of which only became known decades later - as the "Wrath of God".

Meanwhile, the below is what Israel and its Western allies are worried about in terms of the potential for Hamas or Hamas-inspired terror attacks abroad...