Hamas declares open season on 'Israeli spies'

Sunday, June 24, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Hamas, which offered amnesty to Fatah members following its takeover of the Gaza Strip, now says it plans to uproot “Israeli spies” and may resort to violence in its struggle with Fatah in the West Bank.

Mahmoud Zahar, one of the key players in Hamas' violent conquest of Gaza, told the German magazine Der Spiegel that Hamas would pursue “Israeli spies,” an apparent reference to Fatah loyalists close to former Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan. Hamas has denounced Dahlan as a traitor because he favors dialogue with Israel and the US and has participated in many high-level meetings with Western officials.

Meanwhile, several Hamas activists in the West Bank were arrested in order to avoid a takeover there as well, but Zahar said Hamas members in Judea and Samaria would conduct themselves the same way they had operated against Israel in the previous years.

While opposed to the short-lived unity government between Hamas and Fatah and to any political negotiations with Israel, Zahar said Hamas was prepared to ask Israel to open Gaza’s border crossings in order to get supplies through.

“People wouldn’t starve to death before violently storming the borders,” he said. “Israel also loses $2 million in business income for every day the border stays closed.”

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