Hamas denies claim commander defected to Israel, provided detailed intelligence

Saudi network asserts former head of naval special forces gave Israel information on weapons stockpiles and the residences of senior Hamas officials

Hamas supporters march on the main road of Khan Younis City, Gaza Strip, on June 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Hamas supporters march on the main road of Khan Younis City, Gaza Strip, on June 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

A senior Hamas commander who purportedly defected to Israel provided it with “sensitive intelligence” about the terror group’s operations, anonymous sources told Saudi network Al Arabiya.

The Al-Arabiya report further claimed that Israel’s Mossad spy agency facilitated the escape of senior commander Izz al-Din Badr, who had previously led Hamas’s naval special forces.

Arabic-language media has been buzzing in recent weeks with alleged revelations about Israeli-directed espionage in the Gaza Strip and traitors at the highest levels of Hamas, ever since the terror group announced the arrest of several members of an “Israeli-directed” spy ring planning “sabotage” in Gaza two weeks ago.

In a statement, Hamas categorically denied Tuesday’s Al-Arabiya report, as it has denied every report of high-level double agents in the terror group since the arrest of the cell. Hamas further accused Saudi Arabia of “closing ranks with the Zionist occupation.”

The report said that after arriving in Israel, the commander provided information about weapons stockpiles and the residences of senior Hamas officials, leading the terror group to immediately move the materiel to other hideouts in the Strip.

In response to the supposed high-level defection, the report said the Gaza-based terror group embarked on a “restructuring” of its security wing by firing several senior officers. Mohammad Abu Awja, another senior commander in Hamas’s internal security forces, was also arrested for spying for Israel, Al-Arabiya claimed.

Hamas said it “condemns the campaign of misinformation and distortion led by Al-Arabiya with other media organizations, based on lies and slanders from the Zionist security services, which aims to harm the Palestinian people and their confidence in the resistance and liberation project.”

Al-Arabiya sponsor Saudi Arabia and Hamas, once friendly, have become increasingly antagonistic in recent years. While the kingdom historically expressed general support for the Gaza-based terror group, allowing it to raise money on Saudi turf, recent years have seen rising tensions between the two sides. Hamas has become increasingly close to Saudi Arabia’s main regional rivals Iran and Qatar.

Last September, Hamas publicly condemned Saudi Arabia for a series of arrests of Hamas-linked figures in the kingdom. According to the Gaza-based terror group, Palestinians, Jordanians, and Saudis who were members of Hamas or raised money suffered neglect and even torture while languishing in Saudi prisons.

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