Hamas sources allege Fatah link to Dubai killing
Hamas sources have accused men they say were members of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement of helping Israel to kill a Hamas commander in Dubai, a link that would inflame hostility between the rival factions. Skip related content
Dubai police told a local newspaper on Thursday they were 99 percent sure Israel was behind the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel last month. Most of the suspects identified by the Dubai police carried European passports.
The police have also said two Palestinians are suspected of providing logistical support in the operation. They have not named the pair, who were extradited to Dubai from Jordan.
Hamas security officials in Gaza, quoting colleagues living, like Mabhouh, in exile, say the two Palestinian suspects had been members of Fatah-controlled security forces in Gaza.
The pair fled, they said, along with other Fatah activists and leaders, after a brief Palestinian civil war in 2007, when Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip, leaving Abbas's Fatah the dominant faction in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Fatah officials, speaking privately, said two men whose names have been circulated by Hamas officials had worked in Abbas's Palestinian Authority security forces in the Gaza Strip until Hamas took over the territory in June 2007. But they denied that the two were still working for the same masters.
The Fatah officials, anxious to distance the main force within the PLO from suggestions it collaborates with Israel against its internal Palestinian enemies, said the pair might even have joined Hamas after the 2007 fighting in Gaza.
A spokesman for the security forces of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, said: "Hamas should extensively search the scope of penetration within its ranks that has led to the assassination of Mabhouh and other Hamas leaders."
Reuters, to whom Hamas sources gave the men's names on Tuesday, has been unable to contact them. Emirati and Jordanian officials have declined to identify the Palestinians being held.
Dubai police have identified 11 people with European passports as suspects in the Mabhouh killing. Men with the same names as seven of the 11 live in Israel but say their identities were stolen. Israel's foreign minister said there is no proof of Israeli involvement but he did not issue an outright denial.
Efforts led by Egypt to reconcile Fatah, a secular movement once led by Yasser Arafat, and the Hamas Islamists, who won a 2006 parliamentary election, have so far failed and peace efforts between the Palestinians and Israel are in stalemate.
Arafat brought Fatah and the wider PLO into an interim peace agreement with the Jewish state two decades ago. Hamas, which has support from Iran and follows an Islamist agenda, refuses to recognise Israel's right to exist or to renounce violence.
It remains in confrontation with Israel, though there has been a relative calm around the Gaza Strip since a three-week Israeli offensive a year ago in which some 1,400 Palestinians were killed. Israeli and Hamas sources say Mabhouh was a key figure in supplying arms to Gaza.
(Additional reporting by Mohammed Assadi in Ramallah; Writing by Tom Perry in Ramallah; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)