War of words over alleged Hamas spy for Israel


Ramallah : Amid conflicting reports about his death in a Palestinian prison, Mu’aied Bani Ouda, a Hamas commander in the West Bank, admitted in a telecast Saturday by Palestinian state television to helping Israel kill five militants.

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The confessions were aired a day after supporters of the Islamic movement took to the streets in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip to protest what they said was the killing of Ouda by security services loyal to rival Fatah.

The two main Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have been responsible for kidnappings on both sides of the territorial divide – the Fatah-run West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which fell to Hamas’ after clashes in mid-June.

According to the telecast, Ouda joined Hamas in 2001. Two years later, Israeli intelligence recruited him as a spy after arresting him and implicating him in a sex scandal.

Ouda added in the recorded programme dated Friday that he had guided the Israeli army to the hideaway of five Palestinian militant activists in the West Bank, enabling the soldiers to kill them.

But the Ouda family has insisted that Mu’aied made the confessions under torture he was subjected to since his capture by Palestinian security forces July 22.

Ahead of the broadcast, Hamas issued a statement condemning the contradictory reports President Mahmoud Abbas’ forces had circulated on Ouda.

The Hamas statement warned the security agencies against putting pressure on Ouda and forcing him to claim responsibility for acts he had not committed.