Hamas Expanding Its Activities in Saudi Arabia, Turkey

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Matthew Levitt - Information released by Israeli and American authorities suggests that Hamas has extended its planning and operational activities as far afield as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, and China. Since May, Israeli security forces have arrested dozens of Hamas operatives in a network of cells in the West Bank, some based in Hebron. Israeli authorities report that Hamas members recently met with new recruits from the Hebron area in Saudi Arabia. Ahmed Madhoun, one of the Hebron cell's leaders, was recruited at a meeting in Saudi Arabia. in July, Israel arrested Ayman al-Adam, a Jordanian courier of Palestinian descent whose family hailed from the Hebron area. Through him, Hamas leaders in Syria delivered money and instructions on how to assemble bombs and execute kidnappings to members of the Hebron cell. During questioning, al-Adam stated that his Hamas handler in Syria also sent him on missions to Turkey and China. Israeli security officials assert that the scale and scope of Hamas political and operational activity in Turkey - long a comfortable place for the group - have increased significantly over the past two years. Over the past few months, Hamas operatives in Syria have been moving some of their activities to Turkey, where they enjoy greater operational freedom under the Erdogan government. The writer, former deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis at the U.S. Treasury Department, is director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at the Washington Institute.

2011-09-28 00:00:00

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