More than a month after Mahmoud al-Mabhouh's assassination in Dubai, the Gulf emirate's police – which accused Israel's Mossad spy agency of being behind the operation – are now pointing a finger at an element within the Hamas organization.
The al-Khaleej newspaper, based in the United Arab Emirates, reported Sunday that Dubai's police chief, Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, said that one of Mabhouh's close associates had leaked the information on Mabhouh's visit to the emirate. Tamim even referred to the man as "the real murderer" in the assassination operation.
The Dubai police chief called on Hamas strongman Mahmoud al-Zahar to launch "internal investigation" into the leak of information.
Senior Hamas member Salah Bardawil said in a press conference on Saturday that Mabhouh had put himself at risk by booking his trip through the internet and had taken a risk by informing his Gaza family by telephone at which hotel he would be staying.
Bardawil added that his movement was not accusing rival faction Fatah or the Palestinian Authority of being directly involved in the assassination, but reiterated Hamas' claim that two officers belonging to the PA' security apparatus, who work for a company belonging to a senior Fatah official, took part in the assassination.
He said that despite the hit squad's use of European passports, Hamas holds the "Zionist Mossad" solely responsible for Mabhouh's death and will look to "punish those responsible."
The UAE-based al-Bayan newspaper reported Sunday that according to Tamim, Dubai's police have additional information which has yet to be released, "especially about diplomatic passports used by some of the criminals in order to enter Dubai."