Extradition of Hamas Leader to Israel Moves a Step Closer

A top Hamas official may be extradited from the United States to Israel within a few weeks, according to Israeli media reports. The U.S. State Department confirmed Tuesday that Musa Abu Marzook had intends to withdraw his appeal against an Israeli extradition request.

American officials arrested Marzook in July 1995 at a New York airport as he tried to enter the United States, where he had been living for several years.

Israel issued the extradition request that year, charging that Marzook, as head of the political bureau of Hamas, had directed and coordinated terrorist acts in Israel and the territories.

A U.S. federal judge ruled in May that Marzook could be extradited to Israel because there was reasonable cause to believe that he was linked to a Hamas conspiracy to commit violence.

That ruling was upheld by another judge in October and was subsequently appealed by Marzook, who claimed that he had no connection to Hamas’ armed wing and that he was not guilty of any extraditable offenses.

American prosecutors surprised Israeli officials when they informed them this week of Marzook’s decision to stop appealing the extradition request, according to the Israeli daily Yediot Achronot.

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