Hamas threatens revenge over official held in US

Israel may seek extradition if links with bomb attacks are found, writes Eric Silver in Jerusalem

Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, yesterday hinted at retribution if the United States did not release the head of its political bureau, detained by immigration officials in New York.

In a leaflet distributed to correspondents in Gaza, Hamas complained that Mousa Abu-Marzuk had been prevented from entering the US, even though he had lived there for most of the past 14 years on a permanent-resident visa. Mr Abu-Marzuk's continued detention, Hamas added, "will increase the Arab and Muslim anger that is raging against the US's hostile policies." The leaflet warned the Americans against handing him over to "the Zionist occupation authorities."

Hamas is suspected of involvement in Monday's bus bombing in Tel Aviv in which six people died. But Israel is treading very cautiously before deciding whether to seek Mr Abu-Marzuk's extradition.

"We are interested in him, there is no doubt about that," the Justice Minister, David Libai, said yesterday.

"But we must prove that he committed a crime that is cause for extradition, and for this we must show evidence that stands up in court. The question is whether we have proof that connects him personally to terrorist acts."

According to Israeli intelligence, Mr Abu-Marzuk, 45, raised funds for Hamas in the US and sent couriers to deliver them to activists in Gaza and the West Bank. He fled the US two years ago after Islamic fundamentalists bombed the World Trade Centre in New York.

Until a month ago, when he was deported by Jordan at the request of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation, the Israelis say he was masterminding Hamas resistance to the 1993 Oslo peace agreement from Amman.

Marwan Kanafani, spokesman for the PLO leader, Yasser Arafat, said yesterday, however, that Mr Abu-Marzuk would be welcome in Gaza if he had nowhere else to go. In that case, Israel is expected to exercise its continuing control of the Jordanian and Egyptian borders and try to keep him out.

A decision on requesting Mr Abu-Marzuk's extradition will be taken by the Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, and the Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, next week. Any application would have to clear judicial hurdles in both Israel, where a judge would be asked for an arrest warrant, and the US.

Mr Abu-Marzuk's arrest came three days before the planned resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, suspended by Mr Rabin after the Tel-Aviv bus blast. Neither side wants the arrest - or the bombing - to delay further an Israeli redeployment from West Bank Arab towns.

Israeli public opinion has reacted more stoically than it did after previous attacks. A poll published yesterday in Ma'ariv found an equal number (46 per cent) for and against continuing the peace talks. The poll was conducted one day after the bombing.

Commentators note that the right-wing opposition has failed this time to bring out masses of protesting Israelis. A columnist in the liberal daily Ha'aretz detected a growing maturity in Israeli public opinion.

"Logic says that a cessation of the peace process," wrote Ran Kislev, "will only escalate the attacks and might return the Palestine Liberation Organisation to the cycle of terror alongside the rejectionist organisations. If you want to limit terror, you must reduce the popular base on which terror feeds. The best way to achieve that is a peace agreement. This logic is taking hold more and more."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions