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Hamas planned terrorist attacks in Europe, says Israel

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The Palestinian militant group Hamas has been planning terrorist attacks on targets in Europe, including Israel’s embassy in Stockholm, according to the Israeli government.

“In a continuing intelligence effort, considerable information has been uncovered that proves how the Hamas terrorist organization has acted to expand its violent activity abroad in order to attack innocents around the world,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on Saturday evening.

Israel had gathered evidence of this both independently and working with foreign intelligence services, it said.

Besides the alleged Stockholm embassy attack, Hamas had also been looking to procure drones and recruit members of organized criminal gangs in Europe, the statement added.

In addition to actors abroad, senior Hamas officials in Lebanon, who enjoy the protection of the Shiite militia Hezbollah there, were said to be involved in the planning.

Some of these individuals, including the deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, Saleh al-Arouri, have since been killed in targeted Israeli attacks in Lebanon.

The information could not initially be independently verified.

In mid-December, German authorities arrested three suspected Hamas members said to have been involved in the procurement of weapons for possible attacks on Jewish institutions in Europe. Similar arrests were also made in Denmark and the Netherlands.

In November, Germany issued a ban on the activities of Hamas, which also operates as a political organization. To date, Hamas, which the EU and the US consider to be a terrorist organization, is not known to have carried out any terrorist attacks in Europe.

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