The Islamist militant group Hamas disputes reports in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that the son of one of its founders was in recent years a top informant for Israel's Shin Bet security service.
But the reporter who broke the news, Avi Issacharoff, just told All Things Considered host Robert Siegel that he's confident he's got the story right and that Israeli authorities say Mosab Hassan Yousef was "the No. 1 agent inside Hamas" for much of the past decade.
According to Issacharoff, Yousef turned informant after being arrested (and allegedly tortured) by Israel -- and after seeing fellow Palestinians torture their own people. Once Yousef made the decision to pass on information, he was invaluable because he was so plugged in to Hamas. The result? Issacharoff says Yousef gave Shin Bet key information that prevented suicide attacks aimed at Israeli civilians -- potentially saving hundreds of lives.
Here's a clip from what Issacharoff had to say:
Reporter: Hamas Informant May Have Saved Hundreds Of Lives
Much more of the conversation is due on today's edition of ATC. Click here to find an NPR station near you that broadcasts or streams the show. Later, the as-aired version of the interview will be posted here.