The Israeli regime's top spy agencies reportedly seek to “assassinate” Hamas leaders around the world after its brutal war on the Gaza Strip that has already killed more than 15,000 Palestinians ends.
With orders from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the regime’s top spy agencies, including Mossad, are working on plans to assassinate Hamas leaders living in Lebanon, Turkey, Qatar, and other Persian Gulf countries, The Wall Street Journal cites unnamed Israeli officials on Thursday.
"The question now for Israeli leaders isn't about whether to try to kill Hamas leaders elsewhere in the world, but where—and how, the officials said," wrote the newspaper.
The report claimed that there had been calls to immediately assassinate Khaled Meshaal, one of the top Hamas leaders, after the Palestinian resistance group launched the Al-Aqsa Storm Operation against the regime on October 7.
Israel’s prime minister hinted at the regime’s plans for assassinations abroad in an address in late November, when he said that he had “instructed the Mossad to act against the heads of Hamas wherever they are.”
Israel has a long history of conducting assassination operations outside its borders in violation of international law, sovereignty of other countries, and human rights.
Israel’s minister of military affairs Yoav Gallant also threatened Hamas leaders back then, saying, “The struggle is worldwide.”
Efraim Halevy, a former Mossad director, however, told the Journal that the regime’s plan “is not supported by everyone.”
"Pursuing Hamas on a worldwide scale and trying to systematically remove all its leaders from this world is a desire to exact revenge, not a desire to achieve a strategic aim."
After Israel was caught off guard by Hamas operation on the occupied territories, it started a brutal bombing campaign against the besieged Gaza Strip. The regime has so far killed more than 15,000 Palestinians, about 40 percent of whom are children.
Some of the big names that may feature in Mossad's kill list are Ismail Haniyeh, Mohammed Deif, Yahya Sinwar and Khaled Mashal.
Haniyeh, 60, is a politician who is a former Palestinian prime minister. He was elected as the head of Hamas' political bureau in 2017. In 2006, while serving as the Palestinian PM, Haniyeh was the subject of an assassination plot using a poison-filled letter.
Haniyeh lives in voluntary exile, splitting his time between Qatar and Turkey.
Deif heads Hamas' military wing, the Ezzdine al-Qassam Brigades, and is Israel's public enemy number one. Israeli authorities have tried to assassinate him at least six times, as per reports. He has also been on the US list of "international terrorists" since 2015.
The audio message at the start of the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, dubbed the "Al-Aqsa Flood", carried Deif's voice. His current whereabouts are unknown but Israel believes he is fighting alongside Hamas fighters in the Gaza Strip.
Sinwar, 61, is a former commander of the Ezzdine al-Qassam Brigades and was elected in 2017 as head of Hamas in Gaza. He has spent 23 years in Israeli jails before his release in 2011 in a prisoner exchange involving French-Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who was held captive by Hamas.
Some of the Israeli hostages taken to Gaza have spoken about encountering Sinwar during their captivity.
Mashal is a founding member of Hamas Politburo and was the chairman until 2017. His current whereabouts are believed to be in Qatar.
Mashal was at the centre of a sensational assassination attempt in Jordan in 1997 when Mossad agents, posing as Canadian tourists, sprayed a deadly toxin into one of his ears. The Mossad kill-team was captured and Mashal fell into a coma.
US President Bill Clinton had to intervene and the then Mossad chief Danny Yatom had to fly to Amman with an antidote.