As the investigation into the murder in Dubai of a top Hamas commander gathers momentum, the possible connivance of politically affiliated Palestinian individuals with the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, which allegedly masterminded the assassination, is now under the scanner.
Senior Hamas leader Muhammad Nazzal has accused Mohmmad Dahlan, a heavyweight in the rival Fatah organisation, of being involved in the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhough in a Dubai hotel last month.
In a statement, Mr. Nazzal named Ahmad Hassanain, a former member of the Palestinian intelligence, and Anwar Shuhaiber, a former officer of the Palestinian “preventive security”, as providers of logistical support for the assassination.
He said both men worked in Dubai for a real estate company owned by Mr. Dahlan.
According to Hamas, Mr. Hassanain and Mr. Shuhaiber worked for Palestinian Authority Security apparatus in Gaza before Hamas took over the coastal strip in June 2007.
Jordanian authorities have arrested the two Palestinians, who had apparently arrived after the crime, and have extradited them to Dubai. Mr. Nazzal said Dubai authorities had rebuffed Mr. Dahlan's efforts to seek the release of the pair.
On his part, Mr. Dahlan has denied any involvement. Notwithstanding the alleged affiliations of the two detained Palestinians with Fatah, the Dubai police are looking at another angle — the possible connivance of elements within Hamas.
The Dubai daily, Gulf News, on Sunday quoted Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Emirate's police chief, as saying a Hamas member had played a “significant role” in the assassination.
General Tamim said senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Al Zahar had contacted him seeking the handover of the two Palestinians.
“I ask him to initiate an internal investigation because I am certain that there has been a security breach from their side,” he said.
In the Hamas stronghold of Gaza, a Hamas official said Mabhough had booked his hotel room in Dubai online, and his phone and Internet could have been tapped.
He also said Mabhough had revealed the details of his arrival and stay in Dubai to his colleagues over telephone before embarking from Damascus for Dubai.
General Tamim ruled out that the intelligence agencies of Germany, Austria, France, Ireland and Britain had cooperated with Mossad to commit the crime.
The clarification came amid a report on Friday in the British newspaper, the Daily Mail, which said the “MI6 [the British overseas intelligence service] was tipped off that Israeli agents were going to carry out an ‘overseas operation' using fake British passports.”