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FBI Director secretly visited Israel - NYT

FBI Director secretly visited Israel - NYT Photo: FBI Director Christopher Wray (Getty Images)

The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States, Christopher Wray, made an unplanned visit to Israel on Wednesday, February 14. There, he met with law enforcement officials of the country and discussed the investigation into the crimes of Hamas militants, reports The New York Times.

According to sources, the head of the FBI met with representatives of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, the Israeli counterpart of the FBI Shin Bet, and the National Police of Israel. Additionally, Wray interacted with FBI agents working in Israel.

The FBI closely collaborates with its counterparts in Israel following the terrorist attacks on October 7, which, according to Tel Aviv's data, resulted in the death of approximately 1,200 people. Another 250 individuals, including Americans with dual citizenship, were abducted during the attacks. The FBI has initiated cases regarding the crimes committed against Americans by Hamas militants and other individuals.

"The F.B.I.’s partnership with our Israeli counterparts is longstanding, close and robust. And I’m confident the closeness of our agencies contributed to our ability to move so quickly in response to these attacks, and to ensure our support is as seamless as possible," said Wray after the visit.

The United States has established a special CIA task force to assist Israel in hunting down top leaders of Hamas, and U.S. intelligence agencies have also elevated the priority of gathering information on the terrorist organization.

The CIA has actively participated in negotiations for the release of hostages held by Hamas and its allies in the Gaza Strip, and President Biden dispatched the director of the intelligence agency, William Burns, to take part in ceasefire talks in Cairo.

After his visit, Mr. Wray proceeded to Germany to attend the Munich Security Conference.

Israel - Hamas war

On October 7, 2023, militants of the radical Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas launched an attack on Israel from the territory of the Gaza Strip. During the assault, terrorists systematically killed and kidnapped both military and civilian individuals, and extensively rocketed the largest Israeli cities. According to official data, in the first days of the attack, Hamas militants killed 1200 civilians and soldiers and abducted around 250 individuals.

In late October, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) initiated a ground military operation in the Gaza Strip, which is ongoing. The country's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated that the objective of the operation is the complete destruction of Hamas and the liberation of hostages.

On February 8, Netanyahu announced that the total victory of the Israeli Army is imminent. He also revealed the readiness of the IDF to commence a ground invasion towards the city of Rafah near the border with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip.

On February 12, the Israeli military carried out airstrikes on the city of Rafah. It later emerged that it was a special operation during which two Israeli hostages held by Hamas were freed.

Egypt threatens to suspend a crucial peace treaty with Israel if the country's army enters Rafah.