The Mossad has been ordered to act against Hamas leaders, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday night while defending a partial hostage deal that includes a four to nine-day pause in the Gaza war.
“It was a difficult decision, but the right decision,” Netanyahu said.
“I instructed the Mossad to act against Hamas leaders where they are,” Netanyahu said as he suggested that Israel could target them outside of Gaza, including in Qatar.
He spoke as Mossad chief David Barnea was reportedly in Qatar, a country that – along with Egypt – had mediated the agreement by which 50 to 98 out of the over 239 hostages held in Gaza since October 7 would be freed.
Hamas had seized the hostages when it infiltrated southern Israel, killing over 1,200 people. Israel has since conducted a military campaign to oust Hamas from Gaza.
The government on Wednesday agreed to pause that war to allow for a phased hostage deal.
“We conducted tough negotiations. We fought to improve the outline. I now spoke with President Biden again, I thanked him for acting at my request with the mediators to achieve a significant improvement of the outline, and such an improvement was indeed achieved.”