Mashaal, not in hiding
Photo: Reuters
Shallah, boosting security
Photo: AFP
Syria boosts Mashaal's security
Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper reports new security precautions taken to ensure safety of Palestinian faction leaders in Damascus including Hamas head Khaled Mashaal, Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, for fear of attempted Israeli assassination

The Syrian security establishment has increased security on Palestinian faction heads including Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal and Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ramadan Abdullah Shallah.


The decision came following concerns that Israel may make an attempt on their lives in the Syrian capital, al-Quds al-Arabi reported Wednesday morning.


Palestinian sources told the newspaper the new instructions came in light of the assassination of Hizbullah's Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus last February, and threats made by Israel to strike Hamas members around the world.


Mashaal and Shallah's security was boosted since the start of the IDF's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza on Saturday.


According to the report, Palestinian faction heads have been taking very strict security precautions, particularly regarding their mobility.


The sources said the location from which Mashaal gave an interview to the Al-Jazeera network last week was kept secret for fear that Israeli intelligence services would try to locate him.


Despite the boosted security, Palestinian sources denied that the faction heads in Syria have gone underground.


Sources said they were not concerned with Egyptian intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman's reported comment to Amos Gilad, head of the Israeli Defense Ministry's Security-Diplomatic Bureau that "Mashaal and his thugs will pay for foiling the internal Palestinian dialogue that was supposed to take place in Cairo".


Suleiman added that "Hamas' leadership is guilty of hubris. It snubs Egypt. Its leaders must be reined in and must wake up from their dream."


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