Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, reportedly did not attend the meeting with the Egyptian delegation over fear that Israel would assassinate him.
By World Israel News Staff
An Egyptian security delegation visiting the Gaza Strip has relayed a message from Israel to Hamas, warning that if calm is not restored to the Israeli-Gazan border area, Israel will “deal a major blow to Hamas with international and American support,” reports the Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper.
It adds, citing terror sources, that the Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, did not attend the high-level encounter with the Egyptian delegation over fear that Israel would learn of his whereabouts and assassinate him.
There has been an increase over recent weeks of rocket and mortar attacks fired by terrorists from Gaza into Israel along with massive numbers of booby-trapped balloons launched across the border.
The meeting with the Egyptian delegation took place inside Sinwar’s office but without him, reports Al-Akhbar.
According to the sources, says the newspaper, Israeli security officials issued the warning to the Egyptian delegation at a meeting in Tel Aviv that took place a day before the Egyptian-Hamas talks in Gaza.
Hamas is said to have responded to the Egyptians that it “does not seek to escalate,” but that “the economic pressure experienced by Gazans and the failure to implement understandings for a state of calm will lead to more tension in the border area.”
As a result, the terror organization – which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007 – reportedly said that any deal for stopping terror attacks on Israel would have to include the transfer of humanitarian assistance across the border with Israel.
Israeli authorities have stressed that they have kept the border as accessible as possible under the circumstances and that a state of calm allows for greater leniencies.
The Hamas delegation warned that “assassinations against the [terror] leaders…would spark a major war which would have a significant impact” on Israel “and its leadership,” reports Al-Akhbar, seeming to imply that the terrorists would also target Israeli leaders.