Two weeks after President Obama’s Mideast trip and barely a day after he announced his intention to restart peace negotiations between Israel and her neighbors, Hamas said it has arrested Westerners it claims have spied in the Gaza Strip.
Those arrested include American, French, German and British nationals who are now being interrogated in Hamas custody, the French news agency AFP announced Saturday, according to The Jerusalem Post.
“The Gaza Strip is swarming with Western intelligence agencies, such as the American, British, French and German services,” Hamas security chief Mohammed Lafi wrote on the group’s Interior Ministry website.
Lafi said Hamas has a “list of collaborators who will be arrested once the time for them to repent has run out,” adding that half those in custody have confessed, The Post reported.
Hamas set a one-month deadline, for April 11, for alleged “collaborators” to surrender to Hamas authorities in return for leniency.
“This is a chance for all those who fell victims to the deception of Israeli security forces to return to their people,” a spokesman for the Hamas Interior Ministry said. “This campaign is an appeal to our people to be on alert so as to foil the enemy’s espionage schemes. The battle with the enemy is a long one.”
The White House so far has had no reaction.
The Obama administration gave Palestine, which includes Gaza, half a billion dollars in aid last month.
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