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Updated: March 4, 2010 16:42 IST

‘Al-Mabhouh’s travel plans may have been leaked by aide’

PTI
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The father of Palestinian militant Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who was recently killed, holds up his photo at their home in northern Gaza Strip. File photo
AP The father of Palestinian militant Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who was recently killed, holds up his photo at their home in northern Gaza Strip. File photo

Someone close to slain Hamas military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh could have leaked information about his travel plans to the hit squad that assassinated him at a hotel here, the police chief of Dubai has said.

The Hamas leader, who was involved in several actions against Israel, including the abduction and murder of two Israeli soldiers, was killed on January 19 in the five-star Al Bustan Rotana Hotel allegedly in a covert operation by the Jewish state’s spy agency Mossad. The Dubai Police has so far identified a total of 27 suspects.

The 49-year-old Hamas operative had arrived in Dubai earlier on that day from Syria.

Al-Mabhouh “bought his ticket one day before (his arrival on January 19) and the assassination team arrived on the same day, and this confirms that somebody leaked (information about) al-Mabhouh’s visit to Dubai to this team, and this is a secret that certainly only those close to al-Mabhouh would have known,” police chief General Dahi Khalfan Tamim said.

In an interview with Arabic Asharq Al-Awsat daily, Mr. Tamim also said that the passports that the alleged killers used to enter Dubai “were not fakes as some are saying”.

“The evidence of this is that the accused themselves left Dubai following the operation for different countries, including (countries in) Europe and the US and Hong Kong and they entered these countries without anybody being able to discover that these passports are fakes,” he said.

Footages gathered from over 10,000 surveillance cameras deployed throughout Dubai unravelled the mystery of the assassination in just 20 hours, Mr. Tamim said.

The police officer said the operation of uncovering information about the 27 suspects in the assassination included “analysing hundreds of hours of video recordings, as well as monitoring around 300 taxi drivers in order to know what cars were used by the accused.”

The police also reviewed the records of around 15,000 Europeans who visit Dubai daily out of a total of 48 million travellers who visit it each year.

“The Bedouin looks at a camel in the desert and is able to know from its tracks who it belongs to, and on this basis, we were able to access details of the operation just 20 hours after it had taken place.”

He said 20 policemen worked on “analysing these videos and evidence in order to reach the truth.” The department has a total of 648 hours of video recordings of all the 27.

Mr. Tamim also mocked the manner in which the assassins disguised themselves.

“I believe Mossad are living in the past and are operating in a manner that is 20 years out of date, as the way the assassination team employed disguises was extremely stupid and naive.

“They continue to disguise themselves by wearing wigs, and among the accused there was one who disguised himself by wearing tennis clothes while his build indicated that he does not practice sports, and it was clear that he was acting suspiciously, especially as he was on the court for a long time without beginning to play the game, and he could not even hold a tennis racket.”

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