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Israel: Hamas commander killed in Dubai was key arms smuggler

Analysts and defense officials in Israel say that Mahmoud Mabhouh, who was found dead in his room in a Dubai luxury hotel on Jan. 20, was the point man for transferring weapons from Iran to Gaza.

Men sit next to posters depicting senior Hamas military commander Mahmoud Mabhouh at his family house in the northern Gaza Strip Friday.

Mohammed Salem/Reuters

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Israel declined official comment on Sunday following news of the assassination in Dubai of a key Hamas operative. But analysts and defense officials here say that Mahmoud Mabhouh, who was found dead in his room in a luxury hotel on Jan. 20, was the point man for transferring weapons from Iran to Gaza, and has long been wanted by Israel following his involvement in the kidnapping and killing of two Israeli soldiers more than 20 years ago.

Hamas officials in Gaza announced this weekend that although Mr. Mabhouh's death originally appeared to be a heart attack, they discovered evidence indicating that he was assassinated by Israeli agents.

A top analyst at the Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) says that Mabhouh was considered extremely important to Israel on several levels. Moreover, Mabhouh's killing follows the assassination nearly two years ago of a key Hizbullah operative, Imad Mughniyah, notes Ephraim Kam, the deputy director of the INSS.

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