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Tuesday, February 23, 2010     GET REAL

Hamas ties Palestinian Authority to assassination

GAZA CITY — The Hamas regime said the Palestinian Authority was involved in the assassination of a senior operative in the United Arab Emirates.   

Hamas officials also said procurement chief Mahmoud Al Mabhouh refused to take basic measures to ensure his security during a trip to the Gulf in January 2010. They said Al Mabhouh compromised his security by discussing travel plans over an open telephone line and reserving hotels through the Internet.

"Al Mabhouh called his family by phone before he traveled to Dubai and told them of his plan to stay in a specific hotel," Hamas leader Salah Bardawil said. "And he booked his travel through the Internet."

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Bardawil also said the Palestinian Authority was linked to the assassination of Al Mabhouh. He said two officers of the PA Preventive Security Apparatus participated in the killing, which was attributed to Israel.

In a briefing on Feb. 20, Bardawil's statements marked the first criticism by Hamas of Al Mabhouh, assassinated in his hotel room in the United Arab Emirates on Jan. 19. Interpol has launched a search for 11 suspects, said to have acquired the identities of Irish and British emigrants in Israel to enter the port city of Dubai.

"This undoubtedly created a security breach in the movements of Al Mabhouh," Bardawil said.

Several Hamas operatives were also said to have been investigated in connection with the killing of Al Mabhouh. This included Nahru Massoud, identified as a senior member of Hamas's military wing who had been in the UAE during the assassination. Massoud has since returned to Syria.

Officials said Al Mabhouh worked with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to send weapons to the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip. They added that over the years Al Mabhouh began to operate outside Hamas and concluded independent arms deals.

The UAE has confirmed Hamas findings of the lack of security that surrounded Al Mabhouh. Dubai police chief Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan Tamim said Al Mabhouh was betrayed by an unidentified associate who leaked details of the visit by the Hamas procurement chief to the UAE.

Hamas said Israel was trying to assassinate military leaders in the Gaza Strip as well. On Feb. 20, a senior officer in Hamas's military escaped a bomb attack in the southern city of Rafah.

The operative, identified as Attiyah Abu Nujeira, was driving his sports utility vehicle when a bomb was detonated. Officials said Abu Nujeira escaped serious injury.

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