Hamas says Israeli leaders are ‘legitimate targets’

Spokesman for terror group claims ignorance of plan to assassinate Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, but expresses approval

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. (AP/Hatem Moussa)
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. (AP/Hatem Moussa)

Hamas said Friday that Israeli leaders are legitimate targets for assassination, after it was revealed that a terrorist cell working with the organization had been planning a hit on Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.

While Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters that he did not have any specific information on that case, he stressed that “leaders of the Occupation (Israel) who are responsible for the killing of children and women and for defiling the sacred sites are legitimate targets for the resistance.”

On Thursday the Shin Bet security service said Israeli forces foiled a Palestinian plan to kill Liberman during the summer war with Gaza.

A group of Hamas members from near Bethlehem in the West Bank planned to purchase a rocket-propelled grenade, which would be shot at Liberman, who lives in an Israeli settlement in the area, the Shin Bet said.

The head of the Hamas cell was identified as Ibrahim Salim Mahmoud Zir, 37, a former convict who served time in Israeli prison for terror-related activities. Zir is a resident of the village of Harmala, which sits several kilometers from the settlement of Nokdim, where Liberman lives.

Zir, his brother Ziad Salim Mahmoud Zir, 35, and a third man identified by Hebrew media as Adnan Amin Mahmoud Zabih, 31, and by the Palestinian Ma’an news agency as Anas Beeq, planned to shoot the RPG at Liberman’s convoy, “in order to send a message to Israel and end the war in Gaza,” according to the Shin Bet statement.

The group gathered intelligence on Liberman’s convoy to carry out the attack, according to the Shin Bet, and turned to Hamas officials in the area for help in acquiring the RPG.

Indictments were recently served against those involved in the plan, according to the statement.

Israeli officials said they also uncovered during the interrogations Hamas plans to fire weapons and carry out hit-and-run attacks against settlers and Israeli troops in the area.

Joshua Davidovich contributed to this report.

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