When Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas official reportedly behind the smuggling of Iranian arms to Gaza, was found dead in his hotel room in Dubai, UAE, on Jan. 20, the organization was quick to point the finger at Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, vowing revenge attacks. But a preliminary investigation conducted by Hamas suggests that the assassination was likely carried out by agents of an Arab government, Israel’s Ha’aretz reports.
Both Hamas and Dubai police say that Mabhouh had enemies across the Middle East. A Hamas source told Ha’aretz that Mabhouh was wanted by authorities in both Jordan and Egypt, where he previously spent a year in prison. Hamas also reportedly suspects its Palestinian rivals in the West Bank. “It is quite possible that Palestinian Authority security forces were involved,” Osama Hamdan, a Hamas leader in Lebanon, told Hezbollah’s TV station Al-Manar. (Ha’aretz, Feb. 2)
In the latest development, Dubai police said a hit squad carrying British and other European passports was responsible for the killing. Police provided names and photographs of the suspects, along with a detailed account of how they tracked al-Mabhouh, and suffocated him within minutes of his arrival at Al Bustan Rotana hotel, near the international airport. The suspects, who disguised themselves with wigs and fake beards, left Dubai immediately after the killing on separate airlines, police said. Two Palestinian suspects in the case have reportedly been arrested in Jordan and extradited to Dubai, where they are now in custody. The UK Foreign Office said the six British passports were fraudulent and the assassins were not Britons. (The Guardian, Feb. 16; NYT, Feb. 15)
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