TIME: ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE SAYS
HAMAS IN STATE OF RUIN

By Ha'aretz Service

Israeli intelligence officials assert that 98 percent of the known members of the Hamas military wing have been arrested or killed over the past five months, leaving the terrorist organization in a state of disarray, Time magazine reported Monday.

The report in the magazine, which quotes anonymous intelligence officials, also states that this situation has led to a debate within Hamas, with some activists calling for a temporary halt to terror attacks lest the group be "wiped out as a political as well as a military force."

Opposition to this view comes from Hamas activists mainly outside the West Bank and Gaza Strip, who maintain, that "It's more important than ever to show Israel that it can't stop Hamas," the magazine reports.

The magazine quotes the officials as saying that the Israeli military crackdown in the West Bank, which began in April after the suicide bombing on the first night of Pesach that killed 29 people at the Park Hotel in Netanya, has caused severe disruption to the group, making it "no longer possible for cells to organize across different areas."

The damage to the group's infrastructure is so severe that political figures from the movement have been drafted in to plan terror attacks, Time reports, citing the example of Abdel Khaleq Natshe, 48, former head of the Islamic Charitable Society in Hebron. Natshe was arrested by Israel several weeks ago in Hebron on suspicion of planning an attack on the Adura settlement in April, in which four people were killed.

According to the Time article, some in the Hamas leadership are concerned that the internal debate will lead to "a full-blown power struggle," particularly as the health of movement spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, long viewed as a "unifying figure," continues to deteriorate.



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