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Shin Bet chief vows to hunt down Hamas: ‘This is our Munich’

Operation to eliminate Hamas leaders ‘will take several years,’ says Bar

Ronen Bar, head of the Shin Bet security services, speaks at the annual Cyber Week, at the Tel Aviv University, on June 27, 2023. (Photo: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

In a recording released on Kan 11 news Sunday, Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar can be heard saying that the government gave him the directive to eliminate the leaders of Hamas. 

Shin Bet, or Israel's Security Agency (ISA), handles the nation's internal security affairs and is one of the three organizations in Israel's intelligence operations, alongside Aman (military intelligence) and Mossad (foreign intelligence).

"The cabinet set a goal for us. In the words of the street, it is to eliminate Hamas, and we are determined to do it," Bar said, adding, "This is our Munich." 

The Shin Bet chief's mention of Munich is a reference to the IDF's years-long operation to eliminate the Palestinian terrorists behind the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972. That operation lasted almost 20 years, with the terrorists of the Palestinian Black September group being hunted across international borders.

Bar appeared to be promising the same long-term, broad-reaching operation to eliminate Hamas terrorists. 

"Everywhere: Gaza, Judea and Samaria, Lebanon, Turkey, Qatar, everywhere. It will take several years, but we will be there to do it,” Bar said. 

Senior Hamas leaders live and operate in several countries in the region outside of Israel, mainly in Turkey, Qatar, Lebanon, and Iran. 

Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Hamas International Affairs Director Khaled Mashaal frequently travel between Qatar and Turkey. 

At least a dozen Hamas leaders live in Qatar, while two additional leaders, Saleh al-Arouri, the deputy head of Hamas' political bureau and West Bank military activities, lives in Lebanon, while Musa Abu Marzouk, another deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, alternates between Cairo and Damascus. 

Shin Bet also appeared to take direct responsibility for part of the security failure on October 7. 

“The security responsibility is ours. Our duty is to provide both the security and a sense of security. Unfortunately on October 7th, we were unable to do that. I think we're improving and we're not waiting." 

Bar also said that the security forces were “learning the lessons” from October 7 and already putting them into practice in other sectors. 

According to reports in Hebrew news media, Mossad and Shin Bet have already formed a special operations task force to prepare for the operation. 

On Monday morning, Hamas released a statement in response to Bar’s comments: "The threats do not frighten any of the organization's senior officials.” 

According to Taher al-Nunu, media advisor to Haniyeh, "these threats are a blatant violation of the sovereignty of the 'sister countries' mentioned by senior enemy officials and constitute a direct blow to the security of these countries.” 

Al-Nunu also claimed the threats “reflect the political and military impasse that the enemy is experiencing due to the steadfastness of our heroic people and their valiant resistance.” 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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