January 9, 2019 in News by RBN

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Dozens of Palestinians, said to have been recruited by Israel, have been arrested by Gaza’s Hamas leadership after a botched IDF covert mission in the territory in November, which led to heavy gunfire battles and a tense standoff.

“The security services were able to arrest 45 agents after the security incident east of Khan Yunis last November and they are under investigation,” Hamas’ interior ministry spokesman Iyad al-Bozum said in a statement, without specifying if those detained had any direct role to play in the Israeli incursion into the Southern Gaza strip on November 11.

The arrested alleged Israeli agents had reportedly been recruited by Israel over the phone and social media, often through the use of blackmail. While Hamas has managed to arrest “many spies” over the years, the Israelis continue to recruit Palestinian agents to “help them commit crimes against our people,” the Hamas spokesman said, appealing to those who are being coerced by the IDF to turn themselves in.

The botched IDF mission in Khan Yunis, in which a Hamas commander was killed along with an Israeli lieutenant colonel, initially led to a shootout between the Israeli soldiers and Hamas operatives but quickly escalated into a cross-border battle, described as the most intense since 2014.

In what they called a ‘retaliation’, Hamas and Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine launched over 400 rockets and projectiles into southern Israel, prompting the IDF to respond by striking over 150 targets in the Palestinian enclave. The tense two-day standoff led to the resignation of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who refused to accept the Egypt-brokered ceasefire deal.