News24

Killed Hamas man was a smuggler

2010-01-31 21:17

Tel Aviv - A senior Hamas operative found dead in Dubai on January 20 was involved in smuggling weapons and funds to the Gaza Strip, the Hamas website and Israeli media reports said on Sunday.

Hamas has blamed Israel for the death of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, whose body was found in a hotel room in the United Arab Emirates. The London Sunday Times claimed al-Mabhouh was injected with a heart- attack-inducing drug by assailants who photographed all the documents in his suitcase.

But al-Mabhouh's brother told the Israeli Ha'aretz daily that a medical team had determined the cause of death was a massive electric shock sustained to the head. Doctors had also found evidence of strangulation, he said.

Hamas maintains an Israeli hit team infiltrated Dubai on forged passports, as part of the entourage of Israeli Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau, who visited the emirate to participate in a conference on renewable energy.

Landau termed the Hamas allegations "the wild eastern imagination going hand in hand with Palestinian anger about an Israeli flag flying over Abu Dhabi."

The Jerusalem Post daily quoted a "government source" as saying that Hamas, which was unhappy that an Israeli delegation had been allowed to participate in the conference, was now using allegations of Israeli involvement in al-Mabhouh's death in order to embarrass the UAE.

The daily said Landau's delegation, which consisted of fewer than 10 people, was guarded by an eight-man UAE security team from the time it landed in Abu Dhabi - some 120km away from Dubai - until it returned home.

The delegation only left its hotel once, for a brief sightseeing excursion, and then in the company of the UAE security detail.

Israel issued no official reaction to the Hamas claims, and no Israeli ministers broached the subject directly at the start of the weekly cabinet session on Sunday morning.

However, in response to questions, they did compliment Meir Dagan, the head of the Mossad intelligence agency. Interior Minister Eli Yishai was quoted as saying "all the security forces, as one, invest much effort in maintaining Israel's security", and Science Minister Daniel Hershkowitz adding that there was "no doubt" that Dagan operated in "an exceptional manner".

Minority Affairs Minister Avishai Bravermen, would only say that "Israel should, on the one hand, act according to the rule: 'Kill or be killed', and on the other hand, should work to achieve peace according to two states for two peoples," the Y-net news site reported.

Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar said that by assassinating al-Mabhouh, Israel was seeking to take its confrontation with Hamas to the international arena and warned that the Jewish state would "bear the consequences of its actions".

SAPA