Hamas Claims Soft Crackdown on Informers

GAZA (Reuters) -

Hamas, which is pledged to Israel’s destruction by force of arms, is lauding a recent campaign to root out informants in its midst, which it hopes will deprive Israel of a subtle but effective tool.

The Hamas Interior Ministry says the month-long campaign which ended on April 11 was a policy shift away from harsher tactics against spies accused of passing on vital information, such as the whereabouts of arms’ depots or high-ranking terrorists.

These tip-offs are believed to have helped Israel plan its air strikes during the eight-day conflict with Hamas last November.

The terrorist group used to broadcast chilling confessions of collaborators and put the worst offenders to death.

In scenes that shocked the world, seven suspected spies were yanked from Hamas custody in Gaza during the November conflict and shot dead. One corpse was dragged by motorbike through Gaza city by pistol-waving men shouting, “G-d is Great.”

But in this latest campaign, publicized through billboards and sermons, Hamas’s Internal Security Service (ISS) promised to treat those who surrendered of their own volition gently.

Minister of Interior Fathy Hammad said Hamas’s new policy aimed to emphasize that spying was an individual act and offered anonymity to anyone who handed himself in to avoid the inevitable backlash from their neighbours.