Hamas activists on high alert

Prominent Hamas leaders have turned off their mobile phones and gone underground to avoid Israeli assassination attempts after the Jewish state vowed all Palestinian activists were legitimate targets.

    Activists ordered to keep low profile to continue resistance

    This month Israel stepped up its policy of targeted killings, a strategy condemned by the Palestinians and international community. On Sunday an Israeli Apache helicopter fired rockets in the occupied Gaza Strip, killing four Hamas activists.

    Ismail Abu Shanab, a deputy political chief of Hamas, was also targeted and killed last Thursday.

    “Dear mujahid, you are being watched closely around the clock. You are marked for liquidation,” said a statement circulated to members on Tuesday by the powerful resistance group spearheading the Intifadah or Palestinian uprising against Israel’s illegal occupation.

    “You are ordered to take strict measures that leave no room for chance,” it said.

    The Hamas decree advised activists to cut their use of mobile phones to a minimum to avoid giving away the location and times of meetings to Israelis spying on their calls.

    The decree also bans travel except for “urgent missions”. Only one member should be in a car at a time and trips on foot should be limited to narrow streets invisible from the sky.

    Roving roulette

    Israel vows more funerals in store

    One activist said a cellphone call had almost cost him his life.

    “Our mobile phones can effectively play the role of a good collaborator (for Israel),” he said.

    Senior Hamas leader Abd al-Aziz Rantissi, who narrowly escaped death when Israeli rockets slammed into the car he was travelling in two months ago, said the decree was addressed to all Palestinian resistance fighters.

    Hamas leaders did not show up for a funeral of a fellow activist on Monday.

    “All this does not mean that we are afraid for our lives. It means that we should not let ourselves be easy targets,” said an activist.

    Israel has killed dozens of resistance fighters - as well as women and children - during the Intifadah, including assassinating the commander of Hamas’ Gaza-based armed wing when it dropped a one-ton bomb on his house in July 2002.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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