Shin Bet warns Hamas may be plotting West Bank takeover — report

The head of the Shin Bet security service on Sunday warned that the Hamas terrorist group is poised to take over the West Bank from the “very weak” Mahmoud Abbas, who controls the ruling Palestinian Authority, according to a television report.

Nadav Argaman was quoted by Hadashot news as saying the ongoing reconciliation between the two groups was “not going to succeed, even if it takes a little more time.”…

The Shin Bet chief was speaking in a closed-door session of the Knesset’s influential Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Sunday morning, though details of his remarks have been leaked to reporters throughout the day.

“Abu Mazen is very weak,” Argaman reportedly said, using Abbas’s nom de guerre. “In the case of a regime change, there’s a chance that Hamas will take over for him because of his weakness.”

The TV report said the Shin Bet chief told lawmakers it was “not impossible that [Hamas political chief] Ismail Haniyeh or [Hamas Gaza chief] Yahya Sinwar will take control of the West Bank.”…

Argaman warned that “Hamas is trying with all its strength to carry out attacks in the West Bank and to disturb the stability of the Palestinian Authority.”

“This year, we broke up 148 local Hamas cells in the West Bank. This high number of cells shows the increase in efforts by the Hamas high command in the Gaza Strip and abroad,” he said.

“Hamas sees the West Bank as being the main front for terror, with the intent of upsetting the security stability there, but it is having trouble doing that, mostly because of Israel’s efforts to stop it,” he said….

 

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