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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Israel vows to hunt Hamas anywhere – security chief

The security services are reportedly determined to “eliminate” the Palestinian group’s members even if it takes them “years”

Israel plans to launch a security operation against members of the Palestinian Hamas militant group who reside outside of Gaza, the head of Israel’s domestic security service said in a televised address on Sunday.

The Jewish state will hunt down the militants anywhere in the world, Bar said in a video aired by the Israeli public broadcaster Kan. The official said that Türkiye, Lebanon, and Qatar are among the countries where Israel plans to search for its adversaries.

Read more: Israeli military definied “safe areas” for Gaza civilians

“The cabinet has set us a goal, in street talk, to eliminate Hamas. This is our Munich,” Bar said. It is unclear when exactly his statement was made. Shin Bet has not commented on its chief’s statements.

The Israeli government vowed to deliver an ultimate defeat to the Gaza-based group in the wake of the October 7 attack launched by Hamas against Israel. Some 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians, were killed in the assault, and around 240 people were taken hostage.

West Jerusalem responded with a massive bombing campaign against Gaza, followed by a ground operation. The death toll linked to the Israeli offensive on the Palestinian enclave has so far exceeded 15,500, according to local health authorities. As a result of this high human toll, Israel’s campaign has sparked widespread condemnation in the Muslim world and beyond over its allegedly indiscriminate tactics and heavy civilian casualties.

In his speech, Bar compared the planned operation to a years-long targeted assassination campaign Israel launched in response to the 1972 Munich massacre. At that time, members of a Palestinian militant organization, Black September, took hostage and ultimately killed 11 Israeli Olympic team members during that year’s Summer Olympics.

Read more: Pentagon chief warns Israel of ‘strategic defeat’

On Monday, Bar said, “We will do this everywhere, in Gaza, in the West Bank, in Lebanon, in Turkey, in Qatar.” The official added that his security service was determined to continue the effort even if it “will take a few years.”

The Israeli campaign targeting Black September members and operatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization allegedly continued for over 20 years and included operations in France, Italy, Cyprus, and Lebanon. Mossad agents killed 18 people suspected of involvement in the massacre.

The operations also saw unrelated people being killed by Israeli agents, either by mistake or by collateral damage, in their operations. One of those killed was a Moroccan waiter in Norway, an incident that led to the arrest and sentencing of five Israeli agents by Norwegian authorities.

Earlier, the Wall Street Journal reported that Israel was planning a global assassination campaign against Hamas. The nation’s intelligence started drawing up plans for the operations after the October 7 attack, the paper reported on December 1, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter.