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WikiLeaks: UAE Debated Silence on Hamas Hit

Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh (file photo – 17 Feb. 2010)

Diplomatic cables released by the WikiLeaks website show officials in the United Arab Emirates considered staying silent on the assassination of a top Hamas operative.

The cables also disclose that the UAE sought help from the United States to track down the killers.

The UAE blames Israel for the January killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in an airport hotel room. The UAE did not talk publicly about the incident until after Hamas announced the killing.

The cables from the U.S. embassy in Dubai quote the American ambassador as saying UAE officials ultimately chose to disclose details of the case so they would not appear to be protecting Israel.

A separate cable details a request from the UAE for help in tracking down credit card information linked to the suspected killers. The cable urges Washington to handle the request urgently.

Police in Dubai have repeatedly accused the Israeli spy agency - the Mossad - of sending a hit squad to kill Mabhouh.

Israel has neither confirmed nor denied a role in the case.

Mabhouh was a founding member of the Hamas military wing, which has been responsible for hundreds of attacks and suicide bombings against Israel.