Palestinian news outlet reports of Hamas tunnel expert leaving behind his wife and children in Gaza to defect with laptop containing sensitive Hamas secrets for the IDF.
A senior Hamas tunnel expert has absconded from Gaza to Israel and turned himself in to authorities, Haaretz reports, citing Palestinian news outlets.
Bassam Mahmoud Baraka is senior figure in Hamas’s military wing, according to the report, and left behind a wife and children. Reports also claimed that he had showed up with laptop in hand at the border separating Gaza from Israel.
The reports mostly came from sites associated with the Fatah party and other factions opposed to Hamas, Haaretz notes. These news sites took the opportunity to chastise Hamas, particularly in light of several previous reports of senior operatives being captured by Israel.
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Israel’s internal security service, the Shin Bet, announced last month that Israel had arrested Mahmoud Atawnah, allegedly a Hamas operative who belonged to the group’s military wing for a decade and provided information about the group’s tunnel-digging enterprise.
The Shin Bet said last July that it had detained Ibrahim A’adel Shahada Shaer, who it said was a Hamas combatant and tunnel-digger. He allegedly confessed to taking part in construction of Hamas’s underground tunnel networks.
The Israeli military reportedly expanded the use of bulldozers to search for tunnels at the Gaza border earlier this month.
Israel has expressed concern over Hamas’ underground activities. Hamas has confirmed that it is rebuilding its tunnels and residents of southern Israel’s communities bordering on Gaza have reported once again hearing digging sounds under their homes.
During previous conflicts with Israel, Hamas forces have used the tunnels to avoid or carry out attacks, store weapons and at times to enter Israel. Hamas says it needs the tunnels to defend itself against Israeli firepower.
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