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Israel has vowed to hunt down and kill Hamas leaders ‘wherever they are in the world’ – even if it takes years, secret recordings reveal.
The head of Shin Bet, the country’s security agency, can be heard in a clip comparing the October 7 massacre to a previous terror attack at the Munich Olympics.
He says: ‘The war cabinet gave us an objective – eliminate Hamas – and we are determined to do so. This is our Munich.’
In 1972, Palestinian terrorists attacked the Israeli team at the Olympics and killed 11 athletes. For years after, the country took bloody revenge against those responsible, including an operation codenamed Wrath of God – dramatised by Steven Spielberg in the 2005 film Munich – which targeted nine members of the group responsible. They were tracked down in Rome, Paris and Beirut and assassinated over a seven-year period.
In the massacre on October 7 this year at least 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 kidnapped.
Ronen Bar, head of the Shin Bet intelligence services, can be heard in a clip comparing the October 7 massacre to a previous terror attack at the Munich Olympics
People walk around the ruins of a building destroyed in Israeli strikes in Gaza City on October 8
In the massacre on October 7 this year at least 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 kidnapped
In the recordings aired by Israeli TV channel Kan on Sunday night, security head Ronan Bar, 58, can be heard saying: ‘We are already learning our lessons from the events [of October 7].
‘It will be done anywhere needed, in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Turkey, Qatar. It will take a few years, but we will be there to do it.
‘Security responsibility is ours. Our duty is to provide both security and a sense of security. Unfortunately, on October 7, we did not succeed in doing that. I think we are on an upward trajectory.’
In a letter to staff after the attacks, Mr Bar said: ‘The responsibility is mine. Despite a series of actions we carried out, unfortunately, on Saturday we were unable to establish sufficient deterrence so as to thwart the attack.
‘There will be a time for investigations. Now we are fighting.’
Senior Hamas leaders are known to live outside Gaza and the West Bank, with key figures in Lebanon, Turkey, Qatar and Iran. Ismail Haniyeh, 61, head of Hamas’s political bureau, travels between Istanbul and Doha and is known to stay at luxury five-star hotels.
He is often joined by leader Khaled Mashal, 58, flying between Doha and Istanbul.
Turkey responded by saying that Israel would bear ‘serious consequences’ if it tried to carry out any assassinations on Hamas within its borders or other countries. A Turkish intelligence source was quoted as saying: ‘The necessary warnings were given… based on the news about the statements of Israeli officials, and it was made clear to Israel that this would lead to serious consequences.’
Last week The Wall Street Journal said Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered spy agencies to draw up plans to assassinate Hamas’s top leaders outside Gaza. According to the report, some called for Israel to immediately assassinate Hamas leader Mashal, who lives in Doha. But such actions on Qatari or Turkish soil could scupper diplomatic efforts to free hostages.
Mr Bar’s intervention comes as a Hamas official claimed the terror group was ‘not far off’ from launching a ‘war of liberation’ bigger than the October 7 attacks on Israel.