They are deadlier than Hamas, says Mossad head

Mossad Chief Tamir Pardo caused a stir in Israel last week when he said that the Islamic State (formerly known as Isis) were more of a threat to Israel than Hamas.

Mr Pardo told a forum of leading businesspeople last Thursday: "This is a very disturbing threat for Israel, and [the Islamic State] are here to stay… It's an organisation that advocates murder for the sake of murder… Hamas is just a light threat compared to them."

Mr Pardo landed himself in hot water with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for saying that the biggest existential challenge facing Israel was the conflict with the Palestinians and not Iran's nuclear programme.

The Mossad chief's remarks were meant to remain private but were reported by Haaretz on Sunday.

According to participants, when asked about Iran's nuclear plans, Mr Pardo said: "Iran may manufacture nuclear weapons in the future or try to acquire a nuclear bomb but I wouldn't recommend you run to buy a foreign passport."

These remarks did not sit well with Prime Minister's office: Mr Netanyahu has been saying for years that the Iranian nuclear programme is the most serious threat facing Israel.

Last updated: 10:45am, July 11 2014