Hamas says it has foiled an attempt by Israeli agents who were trying to collect information on where Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is being held.
The head of Hamas’ internal security service, Abu Abdullah, said the Shin Bet security service tried to gather intelligence through a cell of agents from the rival Fatah party, who once operated in the Gaza Strip.
Abu Abdullah said that the Fatah operatives had rented a house and cars in eastern Gaza City and planned to kidnap a senior member of Hamas’ military wing, the Izz a-Din a-Qassam Brigade, in order to transfer him to Israel.
“The cell’s scheme was foiled at the last minute. They had a ready plan of action and it was very similar to the kidnapping of Muhawesh al-Kadi,” Abu Abdullah added, recalling a senior Hamas official who was reportedly kidnapped by Israeli forces near his home in Rafah.
The report comes amid efforts by the Islamic movement to free four senior resistance figures held in Israeli prisons in exchange for Shalit. The German-mediated prisoner exchange negotiations have been at loggerheads over Tel Aviv’s refusal to free the “heavyweight” Palestinian prisoners.
Israel has recently offered to release the men “Marwan Barghouti, Ahmed Sa’adat, Ibrahim Hamad and Abdullah Barghouti,” on condition that the four be deported to the Gaza Strip or a third country.
Hamas on Tuesday dismissed media reports that it had turned down the Israeli proposal, stressing that the Palestinian resistance movement is still debating the issue.