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Hamas assassination: Debit cards issued by firm with Israeli ties

The Hamas assassination in Dubai involved a number of people who traveled under the stolen identities of Israeli dual nationals. The pre-paid debit cards the alleged assassins used to pay their hotel bills while in Dubai also have connections to Israel.

By Staff writer / March 2, 2010

A hotel camera shows Mabhouh (in black) as suspects follow him wearing tennis gear. New evidence on the Hamas assassination links pre-paid debit cards used by the accused assassins to Israel.

Balkis Press/Newscom

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Police in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) investigating the Hamas assassination in Dubai have released a pile of evidence that points towards an Israeli connection to the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, but so far no smoking gun.

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Dubai Police Chief Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim told the Monitor on Monday that he suspects most of the 27 suspects involved in the alleged hit squad are now in Israel, and two of them have taken refuge in the United States. He has also said that he is "99 percent" certain that the Mossad, Israel's external intelligence organization, was behind Mr. Mabhouh's killing.

In addition to the fact that many of the identities used in what have since been shown to be fraudulent European and Australian passports were stolen from Jewish immigrants to Israel, the prepaid credit cards that some of the assassins used to pay for their hotel rooms and plane tickets were issued by a company with ties to the Jewish state.

Dubai police say the cards were issued by the Iowa-based MetaBank, which in turn subcontracted the details of the card to New York-based Payoneer, a company that issues prepaid cards and provides banking services similar to Paypal.

MetaBank issued the pre-paid cards. But Payoneer is the company that receives payment to be loaded onto the cards and acts as the broker between MetaBank and the customers – in this case the people Dubai police alleged participated in the murder.

The closely held Payoneer's Chief Executive Officer is Yuval Tal, an Israeli national who described himself as a former Israeli Special Forces commando in a 2006 interview on Fox News about Israel's war in Lebanon (video of the interview is at the bottom of this post). The company's website says it also has a research and development facility in Tel Aviv.

"It’s a war that they cannot lose -- the Israelis have to win this war,” he told Fox of Israel's war with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon in 2006.

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