Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Top-level informer affair embarrasses Hamas

Report of top-level informer embarrasses Hamas, undermines image of secrecy, discipline


"Claims by the son of a Hamas founder Wednesday that he was a long-term spy for Israel exposed a new side of the Islamic militant group's vulnerability and punched a hole in its meticulously groomed image of secrecy and discipline.

The spy affair comes at a time when Hamas is still reeling from suspicions that Hamas informants helped Israel assassinate a top Hamas operative in a Dubai hotel. The back-to-back scandals were sure to leave Hamas leaders fearful of their own and ever more painfully aware of how capable Israel is of reaching the inner circles of their organization.

At the center of the latest affair is 32-year-old Mosab Yousef, a son of Sheik Hassan Yousef, a Hamas founder serving a six-year term in an Israeli prison.....

The younger Yousef, who moved to California in 2007, declined an interview request by The Associated Press.

His memoir, "Son of Hamas," is being published in the United States next week. His publicist confirmed that the information presented by Haaretz is described in the book. The author wrote on his Facebook page that his memoir "will blow your minds away, it is going to be like a tsunami in the Middle East."

Mosab Yousef was considered one of the Shin Bet's most valuable assets.....

Hamas is no longer a small organization which is easily controlled by any leadership," said Khaled Hroub, a Hamas expert at Cambridge University.

The al-Mabhouh assassination undermined Hamas' image as a coherent, organized group, and the exposure of Mosab Yousef as an informer was even more damaging, he added.

"There have been a number of stories of having some collaborators on the margins and fringes (of Hamas), but not the son of a leader," he said. "It will leave a stain on Hamas' image.""

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