Two Hamas spies arrested among PA chairman’s personal guards
Two agents of Hamas’ Ezz e-Din Qassam military arm were able to penetrate the handpicked security force guarding Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and spy on him for some years, debkafile’s exclusive intelligence sources report. They were finally uncovered and arrested Sunday, Aug. 19. The realization that they had been passing Abbas’s closest secrets to their Hamas controllers for a long period of time deeply shocked American and Israeli as well as Palestinian security services. The two detained men, planted under cover among the Palestinian leader’s 170-strong personal guard, are under intense interrogation with certain Western and Arab agencies attending. Abbas has ordered a total blackout on the affair.
American and Israeli security experts now fear that all six Palestinian national security force battalions, numbering 4,000 members, may be riddled with Hamas undercover agents and an unknown number of sleeper cells awaiting orders to spring into action.
A high-ranking Western official told debkafile’s sources Monday on condition of anonymity that all of Abbas’ most confidential political, intelligence and financial moves and private communications with Arab, Israeli and Western personalities must be accounted an open book to Hamas.
The radical Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip is a bitter rival of Abbas’s Fatah-led administration in Ramallah.
So far, Hamas has kept the information gathered by its spies to itself, dropping no more than crumbs to fellow Arab contacts, some of them Egyptian.
debkafile’s counter-terror sources find the affair extremely troubling.
Western agencies, especially American and British personnel, took responsibility for selecting and screening the candidates hired for service with Palestinian national security battalions. They were chosen for their trustworthiness as the Palestinian Authority’s protectors against the hostile penetration of violent entities, especially those linked to Iran, Syria, Hizballah and Islamist radical groups. The interviewees most scrupulously examined were applicants for Mahmoud Abbas’s personal guard. It is now clear that the two Hamas spies were able to hoodwink all the agencies involved in selecting them. The entire Palestinian force is now suspect.