Deal expected to send Marzook, alleged Hamas terrorist, to Jordan

NEW YORK — Jailed Hamas leader Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook, in the face of U.S. deportation proceedings, reportedly will be deported to Jordan on humanitarian grounds.

The move follows Israel's recent decision to drop its request to extradite Marzook from the United States in apparent concern that putting him on trial would provoke Palestinian violence.

One Israeli official in Washington welcomed the news even as he cautioned that Israel had not confirmed it.

King Hussein not only "understands the danger of Hamas to the peace process and to Israel but also to his own regime and own status," said the official. "He is the best to control extremists and has a very high level of cooperation with us."

Marzook had lived in the United States for about 15 years when he was held on the suspicion that he was a terrorist when he tried to re-enter in July 1995.

Marzook maintains he was only a fund-raiser and organizer for the political wing of Hamas. But Israel and the United States said there is enough evidence to prosecute Marzook for planning suicide bombings in Israel.

Israel wanted Marzook to stand trial for his alleged role in 10 terrorist attacks between 1990 and 1994 that killed 47, for which Hamas' military wing took credit.

Marzook surprised Israel in January by saying he would no longer fight the extradition, apparently believing that his profile needed a boost.

When Israel dropped its request, a U.S. judge refused to free Marzook, saying he was subject to charges of violating immigration laws.

Meanwhile, the Jordan deal was evidently in the works.