Officials said Sunday that a Hamas commander assassinated in Dubai played a central role in smuggling weapons from Iran to Gaza. But they refused to say whether Israel was responsible for killing the man it had sought for two decades.
Leaders of the Iranian-backed Hamas have accused Israel of killing Mahmoud Mabhouh in a posh Dubai hotel on January 20 and threatened revenge, though they have provided little evidence to support their claim. Dubai authorities have said a "professional criminal gang" with European passports was likely behind the killing.
The defense officials said Mabhouh was key to moving arms made in Iran or funded by the Iranian government to Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing confidential information.
Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement in the killing.