Mass confusion over who assassinated top Hamas operative

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff

Officials across the Middle East on Tuesday were pointing fingers of blame in different directions over who assassinated a top Hamas operative at a hotel in Dubai last month.

The confusion was sparked after Dubai Police held a press conference and showed video stills of 11 people of Middle Eastern descent suspected of making up the hit team that took out Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Dubai Police officials said all 11 suspects were carrying European passports (six British, three Irish, one French and one German).

Dubai Police Chief Lt.-Gen. Dhahi Tamim suggested that "leaders of certain countries gave orders to their intelligence agents to kill" Mabhouh.

Unnammed British officials, however, told London's Daily Telegraph that at least some of the members of the hit squad were likely Israeli Mossad agents using forged passports.

Hamas itself had a different take on the matter, accusing its rivals in the Fatah-ruled Palestinian Authority of being behind the assassination.

Dubai police have reportedly arrested two of the cell members caught on camera, and Hamas claimed both are of Palestinian descent and actually served in the PA security forces. PA officials fired back by challenging Hamas to reveal the identities of those arrested.

Mabhouh's family, meanwhile, continued to blame Israel for his killing, noting that Jerusalem has contracted Arab agents to carry out hits in the past.

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