Hamas last night vigorously denied that a renegade from its own ranks helped set up the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room last month, a shock claim made by Dubai’s police chief, as echoes from the killing and its investigation continued to resound in the Middle East and Europe.
Gulf News and al-Khaleej newspapers in the United Arab Emirates yesterday quoted the police chief, Lieutenant-General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, as saying that a Hamas member played a significant role in the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. The Dubai police believe the primary perpetrators came from Israel’s Mossad agency. General Tamim said the Hamas member leaked information on Mr Mabhouh’s whereabous to the suspected assassins.
as having a spy-novel ambience. The assertion came in response to a request by the Gaza-based Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar, that the UAE extradite to Gaza two Palestinian suspects the Dubai police are holding in connection with the assassination. The police chief said: “I asked him to initiate an internal investigation because I am certain that there has been a security breach from their side.”
If a renegade within Hamas did help the Israelis, it would be a major setback to the group’s prestige and, in an immediate sense, would be cause for its leaders to be even more wary of their own surroundings. A statement released by Hamas headquarters in Damascus rejected the possibility that a member was involved in the assassination. It said that Mossad’s success in tracking Mr Mabhouh “doesn’t mean that there exists a [security] breach”. A member of the Damascus-based politburo, Sami Khater, said on Hamas’s Palestinian Information Centre website, “We’ve said from the beginning that the Mossad agency is responsible, and if the Mossad succeeded in enlisting some followers, whether Palestinians or from other nationalities, that doesn’t change the reality at all. The perpetration, planning and implementation is solely the responsibility of the Mossad”.