Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
August 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Money transfers made through U.S. companies may have used to help finance the January assassination of a senior Hamas leader, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The transfers were discovered by American investigators cooperating with the probe into the Jan. 20 assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a hotel room in Dubai.

Some 33 members of an assassination team widely speculated to have been agents of Israel's Mossad used forged passports from Britain, Ireland, Australia and Germany to enter and leave Dubai. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied that its intelligence service was behind the assassination.

Saturday's report in The Wall Street Journal shows American authorities playing a larger role in the investigation than previously thought.

Following the trail of the money transfers made through the U.S. companies could provide clues to identifying the suspects in the case, sources told the Journal. The companies include Internet-based businesses that process payments between employers and freelance employees into prepaid, cash-card accounts. The suspects in the Dubai killing reportedly used such accounts to pay for airplane tickets and hotel rooms.

The companies did not know the money would be used in the plot, a source told the newspaper.

Earlier this year, Dubai police identified 13 U.S.-issued cash-card accounts that they said suspects used in the operation, obtained with false passports, the Journal reported.


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