Lebanese Daily: Hamas uncovers Israeli high-tech espionage effort against senior leader

A Lebanese newspaper say Hamas terrorists in Gaza succeeded in discovering and dismantling various Israeli spy devices targeting a senior military commander.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Gazan security forces have found several Israeli spying devices planted near the home of the chief of staff of Hamas’ military wing, Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar paper reported Monday.

Marwan Issa, deputy head of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, lives in the al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. One of Hamas’ top military commanders for years, he is known to keep a very low profile, and rarely makes public statements.

The devices were placed in the home of his next-door neighbor, the Lebanese paper reported. The devices were powerful enough to pick up sounds coming from Issa’s house, letting Israel eavesdrop on his conversations, according to sources.

Hamas called the devices “a quantum leap in espionage operations,” but said it thwarted the Israeli effort by arresting the Palestinian who planted the devices. The alleged collaborator also led them to other spy equipment he had hidden in the area, Hamas said.

A “spy device” was also discovered hidden in the car of one of Issa’s men, who admitted having received it from Israel, according to the article.

The paper reports that the recent arrest of 45 “agents of the occupation” uncovered a treasure trove of information regarding Israel’s efforts to monitor the movements of Hamas military leaders in the Strip.

The arrests followed the botched IDF mission in southern Gaza in November, when a team of Israeli special forces were discovered by Hamas terrorists, leading to a firefight in which seven Palestinians and one senior IDF officer were killed.

Soon after the operation, Hamas claimed that the purpose of the Israeli operation had been to install spying equipment and other devices. The monitoring equipment that “would make it easy for [Israel] to kill, hack and abduct,” Deputy Hamas leader Khalil al-Hayya said at the time.

On January 12, Brigades’ spokesman Abu Obeidah echoed these allegations, claiming that the IDF mission had been to infiltrate Hamas’ telecommunication network.

The Lebanese report said that the recently discovered listening devices indicated that Israel had “failed” in its efforts to spy on Hamas through phones and other communication devices, as the eavesdropping equipment proved a change in tactics.