Israeli media is reporting that its security service has thwarted a Hamas coup attempt in the West Bank that was intended to end the rule of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and spark a third intifada. According to a Times of Israel report:
August 18, 2014 Israel’s Shin Bet security service said Monday it thwarted a Hamas coup attempt in the West Bank aimed at toppling Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and starting a third intifada uprising.
The Shin Bet said it arrested more than 90 Hamas operatives in May and June, confiscated dozens of weapons that had been smuggled into the West Bank, and seized more than $170,000 aimed at funding attacks. It produced photos of the confiscated weapons and cash and a flowchart of the Hamas operatives who had been questioned, and said they planned a series of massive attacks on Israeli targets, including the Temple Mount, in order to start a widespread conflagration. Indictments are expected to be filed against at least 70 of the suspects.
Abbas said later Monday that the revelation was ‘a grave threat to the unity of the Palestinian people and its future,’ NRG reported.
The Shin Bet said terror cells were set up in dozens of Palestinian West Bank towns and villages — including in and around Jenin, Nablus, eastern Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Hebron.
Many of those recruited for the cells were students studying chemistry and engineering, and academics, according to the investigation.
Weapons caches discovered by the Shin Bet during a sweep of Hamas operatives in May and June, 2014 (photo credit: Shin Bet)
The Shin Ben said the plot was orchestrated by senior Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri, who is based in Turkey and enjoys the support of the local officials there.
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Hamas officials have denied the existence of any coup plans. According a report by the The Middle East Monitor (MEMO), a media source controlled by the UK Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas support network:
Hamas’s official spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri denied on Monday Israel’s claims that his movement was planning a coup against the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank.
In a statement cited by Anadolu news agency, Abu Zuhri said that Israel only announced this claim at this precise moment in order to undermine the Palestinian unity achieved before and during the latest war in Gaza, which has resulted in a united front at the ceasefire talks in Cairo.
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The Hamas charter says that it is “one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” and soon after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the newly-opened border to review Hamas military formations.
For a profile of Hamas, go here.