The Islamic Resistance Movement has denied claims that what a British newspaper the head of its political bureau has given orders to Hamas cells on the West Bank to seize control of the occupied Palestinian territory. Spokesman Ezzat Rishq used his Facebook page to allege that "Zionist entities" are behind this "fabricated" news in an attempt to sour the current positive atmosphere and disrupt reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.
According to Rupert Murdoch-owned Sunday Times, Israeli intelligence has warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Hamas might take over the West Bank just as it "seized" Gaza five years ago. Hamas won the last Palestinian general election in 2006 before fighting off an Israeli and US-backed armed coup attempt a year later.
The British newspaper added that Hamas's Political Bureau Chief Khaled Meshaal has ordered sleeper cells in the West Bank to be ready to fight and take control of the West Bank. It reported Israeli intelligence claims that there are strong indications that Iran is encouraging Hamas to replace Fatah in the West Bank to "create a third proxy force – after Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza – through which Iran could retaliate for any Israeli attack on its nuclear programme."