Sources close to Hamas in the occupied Gaza Strip told our correspondent on Thursday that authorities in Beirut foiled an Israeli plot a few weeks ago.

Arab authorities had arrested a number of Mossad agents who were planning to assassinate the movement’s politburo head Khalid Mishaal, said Hamas representative in Beirut Muhammad Nazzal on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry refused to comment on the matter.

Asked to confirm or deny the report, the official said: “ I don’t want to talk about it.”

Israel has declared an “open war” on all Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists living in the occupied Palestinian territories and abroad. It has killed at least 14 Hamas activists through helicopter attacks since late August.

Hamas leaders have kept a low profile and taken strict security precautions.

Track-and-kill policy

Israel carried out a botched assassination attempt on Hamas founder and spiritual leader Shaikh Ahmad Yasin and his aide Ismail Haniya last month.

Shaikh Ahmad Yasin survived an
assassination attempt last month

In March, Hamas Lebanon representative, Usama Hamdan, accused Israel of planning to kill Hamas leaders in the occupied Palestinian territories and abroad.

The international community condemns Israel's track-and-kill policy.

Mossad agents carried out a bungled assassination attempt against Hamas politburo head Khalid Mishaal in 1997 in Jordan by injecting him with a drug during a day light attack.

Jordan’s late King Hussein threatened to hang the captured Israelis unless the Jewish state provided the antidote for the poison.

The Israelis were eventually freed in exchange for the release of Shaikh Yasin, who was serving a life sentence in an Israeli jail for resisting the occupation.