Hamas Operative Killed in Dubai

30 01 2010

A high ranking Hamas operative was murdered in a Dubai hotel room last week. Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a founding member of the military wing of Hamas, was reportedly electrocuted and suffocated by his assassins.

The Israeli spy agency, Mossad, is widely believed to be behind the hit. Israeli officials had no comment, in keeping with the government’s policy not to talk about Mossad activities.

The emerging details from the event make it sound like Mabhouh was tortured before he was killed. This might imply that the hit team was trying to extract information out of Mabhouh before he died. It also raises the possibility that he wasn’t intended to die.

Mr. Mabhouh lived in Damascus and was alleged to be in Dubai for an arms deal.

In past assassinations that Mossad is rumored to be responsible for, there is usually a swift strike, like from a bomb, not a prolonged murder in a hotel.

Dubai had maintained a reputation of a somewhat neutral site that had been off limits to such violence, however that image was shattered last March with the assassination of Suleyman Madov, a Chechen rebel, in a Dubai underground parking facility.

Mabhouh’s high profile hit is reminiscent¬† of the 2008 assassination of Hizballah military commander Imad Mugniyeh. Mugniyeh is widely believed to have died at the hands of Mossad as well, but Mugniyeh was killed by a car bomb, not tortured to death in a hotel room.

Mugniyeh’s death was shocking, given that it happened in Damascus, in the heart the Syrian intelligence establishment, and it’s hard to believe that Syrian intelligence knew nothing of the plot.

Damascus is also the home of Khaled Meshaal, the leader-in-exile of Hamas.

Hamas has vowed retaliation for Mabhouh’s murder. Similarly, Hizballah vowed retaliation for Mugniyeh’s hit, which has yet to materialize. Any Hizballah strike on Israel at this point would mean certain war for all of Lebanon.

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