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Hamas Accuses Israel of Assassinating Arch-Terrorist

Hamas has accused the Israeli Mossad of assassinating its military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai.
By Avi Yellin
First Publish: 1/29/2010, 11:25 AM / Last Update: 1/29/2010, 11:38 AM

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Hamas Deputy Political Bureau Chief Moussa Abu Marzouk has accused the Mossad of responsibility for the January 20 assassination of Hamas founder and military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai. The Hamas statement released from Damascus on Friday did not mention how the assassination was carried out. Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was responsible for the kidnappings of IDF solders Ilan Sa'adon and Avi Sasportas more than 20 years ago.

The arch-terrorist’s body arrived in Damascus Thursday night after he was found dead on January 20 in Dubai, where he had served as a representative of the Hamas military wing abroad. Al-Mabhouh had been expelled from Israel in 1989 for involvement in terrorist activities against the state. Hamas has announced that it has opened an investigation into the circumstances of his death and that the Islamic group is working closely with local authorities to catch who they believe to be an agent of the Israeli Mossad.

In eulogizing al-Mabhouh, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told mourners in the northern Gaza region that the slain terrorist was the first to plan the act of abducting Israeli soldiers, a reference to captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit who is currently being held captive by the Hamas regime in Gaza.

Both Avi Sasportas and Ilan Sa'adon were kidnapped and killed during the year  1989 by Hamas fighters loyal to Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Sasportas was kidnapped at the Hedaya junction while on his way home to Ashdod. He was shot in the head and then buried on the side of the road. Three months later, Sa'adon was captured at a junction near Kiryat Malachi. The day after searches began for Sa'adon, the body of Sasportas – then considered missing – was discovered. Sa'adon's body was found seven years later buried eight meters deep under a paved road south of Rishon L’Tzion.

Israel has not yet confirmed or denied involvement in al-Mabhouh’s assassination.