TEL AVIV — A senior Hamas military commander has defected to Israel after it was discovered he was collaborating with the Jewish state as a spy, the Saudi al-Arabiya channel reported.
According to the report, which cited Palestinian sources, the defector was a naval commander in charge of the divers unit of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades – Hamas’ military arm.
According to Palestinian news site Amad media, the official fled the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on an Israeli naval boat and spirited out a cash, surveillance equipment, and a laptop with “classified, dangerous documents.”
More than 16 arrests were made by Hamas leaders, who were in a “state of hysteria,” the report said.
The Hamas interior ministry on Sunday vehemently denied the reports, saying that al Arabiya was a known peddler of lies.
“We reject the fabricated rumors published by al-Arabiya, which attributed claims to the interior ministry about the arrest of several Hamas members on charges of collaborating with Israel. We emphatically state that al-Arabiya practices deception and works to spread rumors and lies,” the Gaza-based terror group said in a statement on Sunday.
In April, Hamas said it had arrested a number of Palestinians who spied for Israel. One of them was a peace activist who set up a Zoom call with Israelis and was arrested on charges of treason and “normalization.”