Senior Hamas commander ‘defects to Israel’

A senior commander in Hamas's elite commando unit has handed himself over to Israel, according to sources inside Gaza cited by Channel 2.

Reports of his surrender to Israel have been circulating in Gaza ever since the commander – a member the elite "Nahba" unit of Hamas's military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades – went missing several days ago.

The Nahba spearheads Hamas's tunnel warfare capabilities, and is specifically tasked with capturing IDF soldiers.

The missing commander is reportedly from Khan Younis in southern Gaza, and the son of a prominent judge on Hamas's Sharia religious court.

According to Channel 2, a number of different "versions" of his disappearance are making the rounds in Gaza.

Hamas, for its part, maintains he was captured by Israeli security forces, who have nabbed a number of (generally more junior) Hamas operatives involved in tunnel digging over the past several months.

But other sources say he told his family he was going for a hike and would return by evening – only to cross over the border into Israel.

Either way, capturing such a senior Hamas commander would represent a major intelligence coup for Israeli security services.

If confirmed, the unnamed commander would be the second senior Al Qassam Brigades terrorist captured by Israel in recent months, after Mohammed Atounah was captured as he allegedly crossed the border into Israel to carry out a terrorist attack.

Atounah's capture provided Israel with a wealth of information about Hamas's tunnel network, preparations for future battle with Israel and overall military capabilities.

His capture, together with that of several other Qassam Brigades commanders and other Israeli intelligence measures, have enabled the IDF to locate and destroy two terror tunnels into Israel in May.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/213637

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