‘Mabhouh died after being coaxed into Al-Jazeera interview'

Israel reportedly identified senior Hamas operative in interview and managed to track him down in Dubai, Palestinian news agency reports; Palpress doesn't rule out killing was "inside job."

Mabhouh coffin 311 (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Mabhouh coffin 311
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Top Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was identified and killed following an interview he gave to Al-Jazeera on instructions from the movement’s leadership in Syria, according to a Fatah-affiliated news agency.
The interview with Mabhouh was conducted against his will and against the advice of his colleagues in the armed wing of Hamas, Izzadin Kassam, the agency said.
The Palpress news agency said it did not rule out the possibility that the killing was an “inside job.”
“Did he know too many secrets and that’s why they decided to get rid of him?” the agency asked. “Perhaps he knew about the weapons convoy [to Hamas] that was destroyed by Israel about a year ago?”
Although the Hamas operative appeared masked in the interview and was only identified by his nom de guerre, Abu Abed, Israeli security authorities were able to identify him and later track him down, according to the report.
The interview was part of a documentary that was recently aired by the popular Arab network. The film focused on Izzadin Kassam and its past operations, particularly the abduction and killing of IDF soldiers.
Palpress suggested that senior Hamas officials Musa Abu Marzouk and Izat al-Risheq were the ones who exerted heavy pressure on the slain Hamas operative to appear on television.
Following the interview, Hamas said it would not authorize its broadcast because Mabhouh’s features and identity had not been completely concealed.
The news agency reported that the original tape, which revealed Mabhouh’s identity, was kept in Hamas’s archives, while the TV station was told to conduct another interview.
It said that when Mabhouh learned that he was supposed to give a second interview, he responded with fury and asked about the fate of the original tape and whether it had been copied.
But he was finally persuaded to give another interview under pressure from senior Hamas leaders in Damascus, the agency claimed.
Several weeks ago, the Hamas leadership received a secret letter from an unidentified party who specializes in arms smuggling and money laundering, requesting that Mabhouh be dispatched to Dubai, the agency said.
Carrying a fake passport issued by the Hamas Ministry of Interior in the Gaza Strip under the name Mahmoud Abdel Rauf Muhammad Hassan, Mabhouh is said to have arrived in Dubai on January 19, one day before he was found dead in his hotel room. The fake passport identified his profession as a merchant.
Mabhouh, according to the agency and other reports in Arab newspapers, was received at the Dubai airport by members of Hamas’s secret security apparatus, who drove him to Rotana Hotel.
Mabhouh is believed to have been suspicious and fearful from the moment he arrived in Dubai, and to have placed a chair behind the locked door to his hotel room.
According to the unconfirmed reports, the Hamas operative wasinterrogated for hours before he was either strangled or electrocuted.
One of Mabhouh’s close friends, Mustapha Liddawi, wrote an articleimmediately after the body was discovered in the hotel room in which hevoiced skepticism that the man had died of natural cause, as many firstbelieved.
The news of Mabhouh’s death was first broadcast on Hamas’s Al-Aksa TVstation. But the Hamas leadership in Damascus instructed the stationand other media organizations affiliated with the movement to refrainfrom further reporting on the case until his body arrived in Damascusfor burial.