Hamas has recently declared the establishment of a new terrorist group in Lebanon, to be called "The Al-Aqsa Flood Pioneers," Israel Hayom reported. The move has drawn extensive criticism from residents of Lebanon and brought up long-forgotten events.
Earlier, the terrorist organization published a statement calling for Lebanese citizens to join the new organization, in order to "create the future of your people and free Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa mosque." Hamas has operated in Lebanon for some time, and recently took responsibility for several rocket launches towards Israel from its territory.
Additionally, Arabic media reported last month that the deputy commander of the Hamas military in Lebanon, Khalil Haraz, had been killed by the IDF along with several other terrorists of different nationalities. The country currently hosts several high-ranking Hamas political officials, such as Salah al-Arouri.
Israel Hayom noted that in light of this, the new organization seems to be intended to recruit "Palestinian refugees" in Lebanon, who do not support Hamas. Not everyone was in favor of the declaration: Gebran Gerge Bassil, the leader of Lebanon's Christian "Free Patriotic Movement" and longtime allies of the Hezbollah group, has spoken out against the move.
"We categorically reject the statement by Hamas intending to establish the 'Al-Aqsa Flood Pioneers' movement and their call to join it," he wrote.
"We see any armed action from Lebanese territory as an attack on our national sovereignty. Lebanon has the right to increase its national resistance against Israel to protect itself. It is weakened by the fact that Hamas is establishing a territory for itself in the south so as to attack Israel from Lebanon. History shows us that we should not become a bargaining chip during war when we could force our conditions on negotiations."
The comment is a veiled reference to "Fatah-land," an area in southern Lebanon from which archterrorist Yasser Arafat's followers launched attacks against Israel and, eventually, brought about the First Lebanon War.
The statement drew a sarcastic response from the IDF's Arabic spokesman Avichay Adraee: "You are too late, Gebran. Hamas is only an expansion of what you call national resistance. Do you believe your own lies? What resistance, and what nation?"
Adraee's remark is thought to be a reference to Hezbollah's use of Lebanese territory to further Iranian assets and interests.