'West will lose by helping Israel'

Hamas official warns nations to stay out of Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

By BY JPOST.COM STAFF, AP
February 19, 2010 22:22
2 minute read.
Mahmoud Zahar

mahmoud zahar 311. (photo credit: AP)

 
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A senior Hamas official warned Western nations on Friday not to allow Israeli agents to operate from within their territories.

During a sermon in the Gaza Strip, Mahmoud Zahar warned that the West stands to lose by helping Israel in taking the conflict abroad.

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Zahar warned that Hamas would confront those nations that assist Israel.

The Hamas leader was apparently responding to certain reports according to which the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, which is widely believed to have been carried out by the Mossad, was coordinated with other Western nations.

Hamas claimed Friday that two ex-officers from the rival Fatah organization were involved in the killing of al-Mabhouh, and Fatah shot back by insinuating Hamas members were the ones who collaborated with the killers.

The slaying of al-Mabhouh in a luxury Dubai hotel room last month has sparked bitter recriminations among the rival Palestinian factions, which have long competed for influence in the Palestinian territories.

Dubai police unveiled 11 suspects — 10 men and one woman — who apparently traveled to Dubai on European passports with real names and authentic data, but possibly altered photos.

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Dubai also said police had two Palestinians in custody for alleged involvement in the murder of al-Mabhouh, whose body was found on Jan. 20. The two were arrested in Jordan shortly after the killing, then sent back to Dubai.

A Hamas Web site, the Palestine Information Center, said those two men were former Fatah security officers and current employees of a senior Fatah official, who was not identified. Dubai authorities have not identified the two Palestinians and would not comment Friday.

Hamas stopped short of accusing Fatah of collaborating with the Mossad, however. Izzat al-Rishq, a member of Hamas's leadership in Damascus, told The Associated Press on Friday that Hamas is "not accusing any party" other than Israel, though he said the agents might have used "small collaborators for logistic issues."

The Hamas Web site identified the two men as Anwar Shheibar and Ahmad Hassanain. It said they served in Fatah's security services in Gaza, fled the territory in 2006, and currently work for a construction company owned by a high-ranking Fatah official, Mohammed Dahlan.

Dahlan denied any connection to the men or to the killing.

"I don't have any companies in Dubai and I don't know these people," he told The Associated Press by telephone from Amman, Jordan.

"Only Hamas knew [al-Mabhouh] was in Dubai, so it's their fault, not the Palestinian Authority's," he said. "For political reasons Hamas is blaming us for its own internal problems."

A Fatah spokesman also denied the charge. "Hamas is trying by these accusations to cover up the security flaws in the first lines of its leadership," said Adnan Damiri, a spokesman for Palestinian security forces in the Fatah-ruled West Bank. "Hamas is the only one to know the movement of Al-Mabhouh, and from there the information went to the Israelis."

Officials of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah said the two men were former members of Fatah who later joined Hamas security forces in Gaza. They said the men were sent to Dubai on Hamas business last month but had no further details. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they had not been given permission to comment publicly.

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