CIA Providing Intel. on Palestinian Military Leadership to Support Israeli Assassination Efforts

The American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is supporting Israeli efforts to gather intelligence on leading officials from the Palestinian political party and militia group Hamas, according to unnamed U.S. officials who spoke to the New York Times. These officials have in turn been successively targeted for assassination by Israeli forces. The CIA created a special task force focused on high level Hamas officials in the aftermath of the outbreak of open hostilities between Israeli forces and multiple militia groups based in the Gaza Strip, with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan having specifically ordered this. The agency also raised the priority level allocated to the Palestinian group, which Washington has designated a terrorist organisation, from level four to level two, allowing additional funding to be allocated to intelligence collection. The revelation comes as the United States has escalated its military activities in the Middle East by launching large scale airstrike and missile strikes from January 12 against the Yemeni Ansurullah Coalition, which had actively supported Palestinian groups’ ongoing war effort against Israel including with drone and cruise missile attacks. It also follows the successful assassination by Israel of Hamas deputy leader Saleh Al Arouri in the Lebanese capital Beirut on January 2.

The United States has been heavily involved in supporting the Israeli war effort in the Gaza Strip since early October, which has included not only a massive surge in equipment supplies, many of which were previously intended for delivery to Ukraine, but also deployment of personnel on the ground and aviation assets to actively support the war effort. Notable examples included the dispatch of Marine Corps Lieutenant General James Glynn and other officers to Israel to advise on operations, and deployment of MQ-9 Reaper drones for flights over Gaza to collect intelligence and pass this on to Israeli forces. There have also been multiple reports of U.S. special forces on the ground in Gaza to support Israeli operations. Retired U.S. Army Colonel Douglas MacGregor, speaking to talk show host Tucker Carlson, reported on October 25 regarding to these operations: “In the last 24 hours or so, some of our Special Ops forces and Israeli Special Ops forces went into Gaza to reconnoiter, to plan for where they might want to go to free hostages and make an impact, and they were shot to pieces and took heavy losses, as I understand it.” The U.S. also surged its own military presence in the Middle East from October in order to deter potential interventions by Palestinian allies, such as the Lebanese militia group Hezbollah, to support their strategic partners in Gaza.