Ramallah, Gaza, Asharq Al-Awsat- Fayek al-Mabhouh, the brother of senior al-Qassam Brigade figure, Mahmoud a-Mabhouh who was assassinated in Dubai more than ten days ago, told Asharq Al-Awsat that Hamas has given the al-Mabhouh family a medical report confirming that his brother was killed by strangulation after being stunned by being tasered to the back of his head.
Senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Zahar told a news conference yesterday that Israel wishes to change the rules of the game by opening the international arena to attacks, saying that if this is the case then Tel Aviv is responsible for any retaliation.
According to Fayek al-Mabhouh, investigations, reports and pictures confirm the presence of bruises on his brother’s face whose death was first announced last Wednesday as being the result of a long illness. Hamas had previously attributed al-Mabhouh’s death to “a medical issue” however Fayek al-Mabhouh confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that this excuse did not fool the family, and Hamas asked them to remain silent until the end of the investigations into Mahmoud al-Mabhouh’s death.
Fayek al-Mabhouh added “When his body reached Syria early Friday morning they called us and told us that he was assassinated by Israel.”
Fayek al-Mabhouh said that his brother did not suffer from any illnesses and that without a doubt he was in Dubai on a mission, although he told Asharq Al-Awsat that he did not have any information about this, and in fact that he knew little about his brothers work since he left the Gaza Strip in 1989.
Al-Mabhouh told Asharq Al-Awsat that his brother had been subject to a number of assassination attempts in Syria, Beirut, and Dubai, and that “five months ago in Dubai he lost consciousness for 36 hours, they said that this was the result of a stroke, but tests later showed the remnants of poison [in his blood]; and this was an assassination attempt by poison.” The al-Mabhouh family is certain that Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was assassinated, and they believe is Israel is responsible for this.
Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh was born in the Gaza Strip but he lived in Syria since 1989 after he fled from the Gaza Strip after Israel discovered that he was responsible for the kidnap and death of two Israeli soldiers. Hamas denied having any knowledge of what al-Mabhouh was doing in Dubai, and senior Hamas official Yahya Moussa told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the martyr [al-Mabhouh] had many obligation…and we do not know exactly what he was doing in Dubai.”
Moussa also confirmed that nobody is safe anywhere in the world “because we are confronting a rogue state that does not commit to any political agreements, and does not respect the sovereignty of other countries.” He added “This is not the first crime; Israel has committed hundreds of crimes abroad against the PLO leadership.”
Moussa told Asharq Al-Awsat that Hamas was examining the changes in the rules of the game, saying “Hamas was careful not to carry out operations abroad in order not to put the security of any country at risk, and it respects the sovereignty of countries, but now institutions of the movement will study the possibility of reversing this decision.”
In a press conference held yesterday, Hamas senior figure Mahmoud al-Zahar said “We kept the arena of confrontation between us and the Israeli enemy within the occupied territories, and if Israeli wants – as it wants now to change the rules of the game –to open the international arena to attacks, then in this case Israel will be responsible for the repercussions of this.”
He added “Israel has experienced this, and was burned by this in its conflict with the PLO, and it knows that Hamas is no less able to reach its targets in any place.” He also said “we are capable of hurting the Zionist enemy, and this is something that is known by the occupation forces, whether on this arena or elsewhere.”
Al-Zahar also praised the role played by Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in the Hamas war effort, confirming that he was one of the founding members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigade.
In an article published on Friday by the Israeli Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, senior military commentator Ron Ben Yishai claimed that al-Mabhouh was responsible for coordinating relations between Hamas and Iran.
A memorial service was held for Mahmoud al-Mabhouh at the family home in the Gaza Strip for the second time in two weeks, and his brother Fayek al-Mabhouh told Asharq Al-Awsat that “this is the second time that we accept condolences [for his death] following the announcement of his martyrdom.”
An Israeli website claimed yesterday that “four members of the hit squad affiliated to Mossad arrived in Dubai equipped with accurate information concerning the whereabouts of the unguarded victim who arrived in Dubai under a false name. They carried out their mission and then disappeared without a trace.”
The Hebrew “Central Issues” website also claimed that al-Mabhouh was subject to a cruel and violent interrogation in the hotel room where his body was later found. The website said that this interrogation focused on obtaining information regarding the procurement of arms from Iran, as well as methods on how such arms are smuggled into Gaza and the West Bank. The site claimed that the killers obtained very valuable intelligence information from al-Mabhouh. Israeli has yet to officially comment on accusations that it is responsible for Mahmoud al-Mabhouh’s death, but Israeli media outlets have issued reports claiming that al-Mabhouh was responsible for smuggling rockets and other arms from Iran into the Gaza Strip via Sudan.
Hamas vowed to retaliate to the assassination of al-Mabhouh, and the al-Qassam Brigade said that it would respond to this “crime” at the appropriate time and place, and that Israel will not go unpunished. The leader of the Hamas political bureau, Khalid Mishal, also paid his respects to al-Mabhouh during an impassioned speech, and warned Israel “I say to you Zionists, do not rejoice. You killed him but his sons will fight you.” He added “You hurt us but we hurt you…this is an open war, we will not stop until you leave our lands, we are confident and firm that we will defeat you, the war is long, but we are confident of its result.”
Mishal said “If you thought that putting pressure on us and assassination and arrests would force us to leave the option of resistance then you are dreaming…our children and our grand-children will continue the resistance.”
Palestinian institutions and civilian organizations at home and abroad called on the UAE to work hard to bring Mahmoud al-Mabhouh’s murdered to trial in the UAE where this crime took place. Almost 500 Palestinian organizations sent a joint-letter to UAE President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed and Dubai Governor Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid to discover the truth of what happened with regards to this assassination, and “in order for the UAE not to be a safe haven for Mossad agents.” The Palestinian organizations called on Arab and Islamic countries to work to investigate those who enter their country, especially on foreign passports, as well as to prevent any Israeli official or person visiting their country due to the potential that they could be working for Mossad.