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Family denies assassination of key Hamas figure in Sudan
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Apr 8, 2011 - 7:46:42 AM

Family denies assassination of key Hamas figure in Sudan
Today (Last Update) Time 14:37
Abdul Latif Al-Ashqar [MaanImages]
GAZA (Ma'an) -- The family of a senior Hamas figure reported killed in an alleged Israeli strike in Sudan, said on Friday that the man had not in fact been killed.

Palestinian security officials said Monday that Abdul Latif Al-Ashqar was the target of a strike which hit a car on Sudan's Red Sea coast near the main port killing two on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmad Karti accused Israel of carrying out the attack.

Arab media quoted 'Israeli sources' saying the assassination was executed by a special unit that entered Sudanese territory from the sea and fired on the car with a ground-to-ground missile.

Al-Ashqar's uncle, senior Hamas figure Ismail Al-Ashqar, told Ma'an that Abdul Latif was well, having been the subject of several Israeli assassination attempts in the past, and been tracked by Israeli forces for many years.

Hamas Deputy Politburo Chief Moussa Abu Marzouq, told the Jerusalem-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper that the two "were not Palestinian and had no connection to Hamas."

There were conflicting media reports, with Sudanese media claiming both victims were nationals of the country, while daily London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Arabiya said one of the victims was a national of an Arab country, and said the man was involved in arms smuggling for Hamas.

Israeli newspapers also reported the strike, with one running the headline "IDF carried out attack on Sudan," but the Israeli military and foreign ministry both declined to comment.

Abdul Latif Al-Ashqar, a senior member of Hamas’ military wing, is said to have taken over the role of weapons gathering formerly carried out by Mahmoud Mabhouh, who was assassinated in a Dubai hotel room last year.

In his 40s, Al-Ashqar was born in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip and was arrested by Israel during the First Intifada.

He was a founder of Hamas' "aid and logistics department," which coordinated weapons smuggling to the Gaza Strip. It is not known when he arrived in Sudan, or how long he resided there.

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