Who is Saddam-era scientist 'detained for Hamas links'?
Earlier this week, an Iraqi scientist was detained in the Philippines over alleged links to Palestinian movement Hamas. It was alleged that the Iraqi authorities had tipped off the Philippines about the presence of Taja Mohammad al-Jabori who was reportedly staying in the Philippines with visa problems.
According to national police chief Ronald Dela Rosa, after his arrest, he admitted to other 'dubious activities'.
"He admitted being a member of Hamas. He's a chemist and he has been responsible for improving the rocket technology of Hamas in firing their missiles from their area towards the other side, for Israel" Dela Rosa claimed.
But after speaking to Iraqi government sources, The New Arab found out that there are no legal charges against al-Jabori and Baghdad is not after him, thus did not seek his extradition as claimed.
If anything, Baghdad believes al-Jabori, whose whereabouts are currently unknown, was a “victim of fabrication by the Israeli intelligence services to portray him as a terrorist," the sources said.
It turns out that al-Jabori is a scientist specialising in military technology, but worked for the Iraqi government in the era of Saddam Hussain. After the US occupation of Iraq in 2003, al-Jabori escaped to Syria in 2004 after a wave of assassinations against Iraqi army officers and military scientists.
Al-Jabori felt even more unsafe in Iraq after the US asked him to work with them, refusing to “serve the occupation”, the sources claimed.
After the Syrian revolution, he left Syria to stay in a European country with his family and according to al-Jabori’s personal connections, he went to Manila for a science conference.
Hamas have echoes the claims, saying that the Mossad had 'lured him to Manila'.
An anonymous Hamas official told Palestinian Quds Press that the Mossad has intensified its surveillance of Arab and Muslim scientists and suspected that al-Jabori had links to Hamas.
The intelligence agency had apparently conspired with Manila, which resulted in al-Jabouri being abducted and investigated for months, before the announcement of his detention on Sunday.
The New Arab could not independently verify these claims.