18 February 2010
Officials in Dubai are reportedly blaming the Israeli secret service, Mossad, for the killing of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in an airport hotel of the Gulf emirate last month but said it would be impossible to get hold of the assassins as there were no diplomatic relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel. “All elements strongly indicate the involvement of the Mossad,” Dubai police general Dahi Khalfan Tamim told the newspaper ‘Gulf News’.
Until now, Dubai police had stopped short of accusing the Mossad. However, with at least seven of the eleven named suspects in the case now revealed to have used the stolen identities of Israelis that hold dual nationalities, officials in the Gulf state believe that the evidence points to Israel's spy agency. On Wednesday, police in the emirate said they hold retinal scans of the suspected assassins, which they plan to publish through the international police agency Interpol.
In Britain and Ireland, the Israeli ambassadors were called in by the respective governments over the matter. Reportedly, the killers of al-Mabhoub used six fake British and three fake Irish passports to travel to the United Arab Emirates.
Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown has promised a full inquiry. “We have got to carry out a full investigation,” he told a radio station. “The evidence has got to be assembled about what has actually happened and how and why, and it is necessary for us to accumulate that evidence before we can make any statements.” The Foreign Office in London made a statement saying that “Given the links to Israel of a number of the British nationals affected, there will be a meeting between the permanent under-secretary and the ambassador…The defrauding of British passports is a very serious issue.”
The newspaper 'Haaretz' has learnt the identities of two Palestinians arrested in Jordan in connection with the assassination. Ahmad Hasnin, a Palestinian intelligence operative, and Anwar Shekhaiber, an employee of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, were arrested in the Jordanian capital Amman and extradited to Dubai. The two were residents of the Gaza Strip until Hamas seized control there in 2007, 'Haaretz' reports. A third man is under arrest in Syria on suspicion of having assisted the hit squad, according to the British news paper 'The Guardian'.
In Israel, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said there was no reason to blame the Mossad for the killings, but added that it was Israel’s policy never to comment on such matters. Meanwhile, Israeli media report that Mossad head Meir Dagan was not planning to resign over the matter.
Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was suspected for being involved in the 1989 abduction and murder of two Israeli soldiers, along with several other attacks against Israel.
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