Senior Hamas Commander Defects to Israel, Saudi Media Reports

Naval elite unit commander Mohammed Omar Abu Ajwa reportedly fled by boat to Israel, for which he had been spying for a decade ■ Hamas issues forceful denial

Jack Khoury
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Hamas supporters march against Israel's plan to annex parts of the West Bank, Khan Yunis, Gaza, June 26, 2020.
Hamas supporters march against Israel's plan to annex parts of the West Bank, Khan Yunis, Gaza, June 26, 2020.Credit: AP Photo/Adel Hana
Jack Khoury

The Saudi Al-Arabiya channel reported on Friday that a senior Hamas military figure had recently defected to Israel by sea.

According to the report, the Hamas commander, who was in charge of an elite naval unit, had been cooperating with Israel since 2009. He was reportedly in possession of sensitive documents.

Al-Arabiya also reported that Hamas had since arrested sixteen members of their armed forces. Al-Arabiya's Arabic edition attributed this to a Hamas Interior Ministry statement. Al-Arabiya's English-language website attributed the information to Palestinian news sources. 

Hamas issued a sweeping denial of the article, saying it was fake news profiting Israel.

"The Al-Arabiya channel is promoting rumors that serve the aims of the occupation in destabilizing the home front in Gaza," Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem said.

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