Israel is planning a years-long assassination campaign against Hamas terrorist leaders linked to the Oct. 7 attacks, when Hamas militants brutally murdered 1,200 Israelis and took roughly 240 people hostage, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the Mossad and other intelligence agencies to hunt down and kill Hamas leaders in Lebanon, Turkey and Qatar in the coming years once the current war in Gaza tapers off, the WSJ reported, citing Israeli officials. In the past, Israel has avoided targeting members of the Palestinian-based group in other countries to preclude diplomatic crises.
“I have instructed the Mossad to act against the heads of Hamas wherever they are,” Netanyahu said in a televised address on Nov. 22, according to the WSJ.
Qatar has allowed Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, to run a political office from the capital of Doha for years, according to the WSJ. Qatar, Lebanon, Iran, Russia and Turkey have at times harbored Hamas terrorists.
And Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the leaders are living on “borrowed time,” the WSJ reported. “They are marked for death. The struggle is worldwide, both the terrorists in Gaza and those who fly in expensive planes.”
Israel is already carrying out operations to kill Hamas terrorist leaders living in Gaza while the war goes on, according to the WSJ. Plans on how to target leaders elsewhere around the globe initiated shortly after the Oct. 7 attacks, with Israel’s stated intention to prevent Hamas from ever staging a repeat.
However, some Israeli officials want to keep the plan a secret, according to the WSJ. They also debated whether to begin the assassinations immediately, but refrained from taking out Hamas militants in Qatar for fear it would close a door for the emirate to mediate hostage releases with Hamas.
Mossad head David Barnea met with CIA Director William Burns in Doha on Tuesday for discussions on a ceasefire extension and the freeing of additional hostages.
Some assassinations can at times violate international law, although that has not stopped many countries from carrying out targeted killings and weathering the international consternation that follows, according to the WSJ.
Israel’s intelligence forces have a storied history of clandestine operations to eliminate human targets for decades.
Netanyahu oversaw a botched assassination attempt against Hamas head Khaled Meshaal in Jordan that resulted in the release of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the group’s spiritual leader.
An Israeli government spokesperson did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment. The Mossad could not be reached for comment.
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