Hamas naval commander, suspected ‘collaborator,’ flees Gaza – report

Unsourced Palestinian media report claims official escaped Strip on Israeli military vessel with a laptop, cash, and classified documents

By TOI STAFFToday, 8:45 pm  4

Palestinian Hamas naval forces stand at attention during the opening ceremony of the terror group’s first navy headquarters in Gaza City, on December 22, 2016. (AP/Adel Hana)

Palestinian terror group Hamas said on Saturday that a senior naval commander in its armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, has escaped the Gaza Strip after suspicions arose that he was working for Israel as a so-called “collaborator.”

The term is used to indicate a person who is suspected of sharing information or intelligence with Israel.

The official, said to have overseen the group’s divers unit, fled the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on an Israeli military boat with a laptop, cash, surveillance equipment, and “classified, dangerous documents,” according to a media report citing “sources” on Palestinian news site Amad media, an organization reportedly close to exiled Fatah commander Mohammad Dahlan. The report was picked up by Israel’s Channel 12 and Channel 13 news.

The report said the discovery sent senior Hamas leaders into a “state of hysteria” as the group launched an investigation and made dozens of arrests in search of additional suspects in the alleged spy network. Some half a million dollars and extensive equipment were seized in an unspecified raid, according to the report.

This was the second senior Hamas commander suspected recently of aiding the Jewish state, the report said. A previous suspect, dubbed “Mahmoud,” is said to have been in charge of communications networks for the Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiya and is believed by Hamas to have been working for Israel since 2009.

The report said “Mahmoud,” 32, arrested by Hamas and charged with spying for Israel.

Hamas routinely announces arrests of suspected “collaborators” in the Palestinian enclave, many of whom are sentenced to death.

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