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Hamas uses TV coded messages for attacks, Israel alleges

2 min

Jerusalem (AFP)

Hamas is using coded television messages to instruct recruits in the occupied West Bank to carry out anti-Israeli attacks, Israel's Shin Bet security agency alleged on Wednesday.

A statement by the agency said this was the "key factor" behind a November 12, 2018 Israeli air strike which destroyed the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa television station in Gaza City.

Shin Bet and the Israeli army "are aware that operatives of Hamas's military wing use Al-Aqsa TV for terrorist purposes" by broadcasting "secret messages" to the West Bank, it said.

The security agency said "Al-Aqsa TV anchors and reporters pass on hidden messages on behalf of Hamas's military wing in the channel's broadcasts.

"Their purpose is to convince recruited Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) residents that the activity to which they were enlisted is indeed guided by operatives of Hamas in Gaza Strip," it added.

Shin Bet alleged these recruits had been told in advance when to watch the channel to see "when the anchor would put down his cup in the beginning of the programme".

"By watching the programme, the recruit received a confirmation of the Gaza-based operative's claims," it said.

According to Shin Bet, the Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas recently recruited four West Bank residents and an Israeli national from east Jerusalem.

"The recruits were intended to carry out terrorist activity against Israel."

Hamas, which seized control of Gaza from the West Bank-based government in a 2007 near civil war, has fought three wars with Israel since 2008.

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