Report: Hamas Seeking Refuge in Algeria

YERUSHALAYIM -
Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh. (Reuters/Mohammed Salem)

Hamas is seeking to move its international headquarters to Algeria, the London-based A-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reported. Quoting from the report, Yediot Acharonot said that Palestinian sources had told the London publication that after the terror group shut down its operation in Qatar last month, its top officials are located in numerous countries in the Arab world and in Africa. Algeria, the sources said, appeared to be friendliest to the group.

The official request was made in recent days, but Algeria has not yet responded to it, the reports said. Several other countries in North Africa are being considered as well. The reports did not name those countries.

Most Hamas operatives left Qatar last month, after the country responded to a boycott by Saudi Arabia and Gulf states by leaning on Hamas. In an editorial, the Saudi Okaz newspaper penned a fierce editorial slamming Hamas, accusing the group of carrying out terror attacks using money supplied by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. “Hamas is responsible for a double portion of disloyalty to Palestinians,” the editorial said. “Not only does it do nothing to help Gazans; it takes money donated to it for that purpose to dig terror tunnels. In the past three years, Hamas has taken $120 million meant for Gazans and used it for their intensive terror-tunnel building campaign.”

As a result, Qatar has been trying to keep a lower profile and has cut ties with some of the more egregious terror groups, like Hamas. Hamas’s new political head, Ismail Haniyeh, was unable to enter Qatar, where his predecessor Khaled Mashaal held court, because Qatar refused to grant him a visa. For now, the reports said, Haniyeh has decided to remain in Gaza. He has been unable to secure a visa to any other Arab country.

Because of the pressure from Arab countries — and the United States — Hamas terrorists have spread themselves around the Arab world in order to avoid getting officially thrown out of any one country, the reports added.