CIA sharing intelligence with Israel on Hamas leaders, hostages

The CIA’s focus is to zero in on Hamas’ leaders and not necessarily to go after low or mid-level terrorists within the organization.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is collecting information on senior Hamas officials as well as the locations of hostages in Gaza and sharing it with Israel, according to a New York Times report on Friday.

Immediately following the October 7th massacre which left 1,200 people dead and 240 taken hostage, Jake Sullivan, the US security adviser sent a memo to the intelligence agencies and Defense Department outlining the creation of a task force that would make investigating Hamas a higher priority.

Prior to October 7th, Hamas was level four priority in the US intelligence community, but following the massacre and the ensuing war, Hamas is now level two, meaning that there will be greater funding and resources committed to collecting information about the terrorist organization.

The CIA’s focus is to zero in on Hamas’ leaders and not necessarily to go after low or mid-level terrorists within the organization.

Some US officials disagree with Israel’s strategy of neutralizing many low to mid-level terrorists because of the risk to civilians and because these terrorist fighters can be easily replaced.

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Israel estimates that on October 7th Hamas had 20,000 to 25,000 terrorists and by the end of 2023, Israel said it had eliminated a third of them.

The CIA believes that capturing and eliminating Yahya Sinwar and Mohammed Deif, the masterminds of October 7th, would cripple Hamas and would bring a quicker end to the war.

Israeli officials have reported they believe Yahya Sinwar is deep within the tunnel system in Khan Younis in Gaza and is using hostages as human shields.

The US clarified that it provided no information to Israel on its strike that killed Saleh al-Arouri, a deputy Hamas leader in a Beirut suburb in early January,  and the action was carried out only by Israel.

While the CIA gathers intelligence also on the location and condition of hostages held in Gaza, William J. Burns, the C.I.A. director, has been working with David Barnea, the chief of Israel’s Mossad spy agency to negotiate through Qatar for their release.

There was an attempt at a deal to release the remaining 130 hostages, but Hamas demanded an end to the war and a withdrawal of IDF troops from Gaza which would mean Israel forfeiting their goals and strategy to eliminate Hamas in Gaza.

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