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Hamas leader's son says he spied for Israel

March 03, 2010 19:08 IST

Mosab Yousef, the son of a founder of the Palestinian militant group, Hamas, says he was a spy for Israel's Shin Bet for a decade as he felt that the spy agency had more morality than his own people.

Mosab, 32, said he spied for Israel because he came to believe that Hamas was practicing "exceptional cruelty" against its members and "killed people for no reason". He said that he passed on information about Hamas terrorist plots to Shin Bet.

"That happened when they offered me to work for them when I was arrested in 1993," he told CNN. "I accepted their offer, my goal was to be a double agent and attack them from inside," Mosab claimed, adding that in prison he saw Hamas leaders torture other Hamas members.

"I became confused about that. About whose really my enemy? Everybody is torturing everybody," he said. Later, when Mosab became a Christian he felt that Shin Bet had more morality than his own people."Later on I became Christian. I was convinced by the principle of loving your enemy. I saw that my enemy had moralities, they had their responsibilities more than my own people," he said.

Mosab is son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a senior Hamas figure in the West Bank, who is currently serving a six-year prison sentence in an Israeli prison.

"My people did not understand this. Shin Bet is committed to a constitution but Hamas targets civilians. There's a difference between targeting a terrorist and civilians," Mosab said. "It's not about trust in somebody. It's about my own experience. Figuring out whose my enemy. I grew up in society that Israel was my enemy," he said.

When I was in prison I found out there could be other enemies. Also there are other enemies in the community. So I was confused…who really was my enemy. I needed to figure that out. The whole process, it took many years," he added. Mosab's father publicly disowned his son on Monday after the young man announced he had secretly spied for Israel and helped authorities hunt down members of the Islamic militant group.

"My father is not telling his heart. My father is under a lot of pressure and he is committed to his God," Mosab said. "This is not my father's will." he added. Mosab now lives in the United States and has detailed the years of spying in his new book, Son of Hamas.

Betwa Sharma in New York
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