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Hamas officials quit Qatar, shut down cellphones

The terrorist leaders left for Algeria, Beirut, Iran and other countries.

Doha, Qatar. Credit: Pixabay.
Doha, Qatar. Credit: Pixabay.

Several Hamas leaders recently left Qatar together with their entourages, cutting off communications including cellphones.

The leaders left for Algeria, Lebanon, Iran and other countries, according to sources cited by Kan News’s Arabic channel.

Among Hamas leaders living in Qatar are Ismail Haniyeh, head of the terrorist group’s political bureau, Mousa Abu Marzook and Khaled Mashal. They live a life of luxury in the Gulf state even as most Palestinians in Gaza live in abject poverty.

Officially a major non-NATO ally of the U.S., Qatar, which opened an office for Hamas in 2012, has come under criticism from Congress for backing the terrorist group. A bipartisan group of 113 U.S. lawmakers sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Oct. 16 asking him to put pressure on countries, including Qatar, that support Hamas.

Another Hamas leader, Saleh al-Arouri, who lives in Lebanon, also has moved location to Turkey. Al-Arouri is typically located in the southern suburbs of Beirut, where Hezbollah’s power base is located. There, he coordinated between the two groups and organized activities of Hamas’s Lebanon branch, the Kan report said.

The recent movement of Hamas leaders may be related to Israel’s promise to wipe out the terrorist group’s leadership wherever it is found. Ronen Bar, head of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), said on Dec. 3 that Israel will eliminate the leaders of Hamas in Qatar and Turkey.

Following Bar’s comments, a Turkish intelligence official told Reuters that there would be “serious consequences” if Israel attempted to pursue senior Hamas officials “outside the Palestinian territories,” whether in Turkey or elsewhere. The warning was delivered to Israel “following the statements of officials,” according to the source.

As a result, al-Arouri may have felt safer in Turkey, contradicting his past statements that “we are never afraid to die as martyrs.”

Although al-Arouri holds the No. 2 spot in Hamas, a Kan News report in September described him as “the most dangerous man in Hamas,” a puppet master pulling the strings behind the scenes.

He has repeatedly called for violence against Israelis in Judea and Samaria. “Don’t let them feel secure while they’re in our land. Cause them to lose a feeling of security and to lose hope so that they’ll leave and go someplace else,” he has said.

He was imprisoned by Israel for terrorist activities almost continuously from 1992 to 2010.

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