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Palestinian role Dubai assassination? Hamas blames Mossad

Hamas officials said they have evidence, which they refuse to release, that Israel and its Mossad intelligence agency dispatched the assassination team that killed Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai. They said reports of Palestinian involvement in his murder aren't true.

By Erin CunninghamCorrespondent / February 18, 2010

Hamas militants stand on top of an Israel flag during a rally against the killing of senior Hamas military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, in the northern Gaza Strip Wednesday.

Suhaib Salem/REUTERS

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Ramallah, West Bank

Hamas, who lost senior leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in January after he was assassinated in an elaborate cloak-and-dagger operation in Dubai, has joined the government of the tiny emirate in saying it's convinced the likely perpetrators were members of the Mossad, Israel's intelligence and security agency.

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Soon after Mr. Mabhouh was assassinated, the Islamist organization pointed the finger at its old adversary. But its complaints have grown louder in recent days, after Dubai released footage of the alleged 11-member assassination team, their photographs, and details on the European passports they traveled on -- all of them apparent forgeries.

On Wednesday, hundreds of Hamas militants rallied in memory of Mabhouh at the Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

“The first question regarding Mabhouh is: who wanted to kill him? Second, who has the ability to assassinate him abroad?” says Hamas government spokesman, Taher Al Nounou. “All arrows point to Israel.”

Hamas says it will not yet reveal the evidence it claims it has that Israel is responsible for Mabhouh’s murder, instead saying it will allow Dubai authorities to complete their investigation before making any official announcements that could compromise their work.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Wednesday there was no proof implicating the Mossad in the assassination and refused to confirm or deny their involvement..

Past assassinations

But the movement says Israel’s attempted assassination of Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal in Amman, Jordan in 1997 and of its spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in Gaza in 2004 is proof Israel maintains an official policy of targeting its leaders – and is basing its strategy of retaliation on that assumption.

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