Amid speculation that the Israeli intelligence had masterminded last month the assassination in Dubai of a Hamas heavyweight, Its Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said there is no proof that the Mossad spy agency was responsible for the crime.
Mr. Lieberman made this assertion after it emerged that the assassins had used fake passports bearing identities of foreign born Israelis.
Without out rightly rejecting Mossad’s involvement in the killing in a Dubai hotel of Mahmoud al-Mabhough, a top Hamas commander, he said Israel pursued a “policy of ambiguity” on intelligence issues.
“There is no reason to think that it was the Israeli Mossad, and not some other intelligence service or country up to some mischief,” said Mr. Lieberman.
On Monday, Dubai police released pictures, passport details and footage of 11 European suspects behind the assassination. Six of the suspects were British, three Irish, one French and one German. Israeli daily Haaretz said of the 11 suspects named, seven with those names, reside in Israel. However, the names and the pictures on the passports do not match. The daily said those individuals that its reporters had contacted said their identities had been stolen.
Six of the men are Britons who immigrated to Israel. The seventh is an American Israeli, whose name Dubai said was on a German passport used by one of the assassins, said Haaretz.
On Tuesday, the Dubai Public Prosecution said international arrest warrants had been issued to nab the suspects, who had left Dubai following the assassination, based on the laws of the United Arab Emirates and the International Judicial Cooperation Law on criminal issues.
At a press conference on Monday, Dubai police Chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim said he did not rule out “the involvement of Mossad or other parties in the assassination”. Analysts point out that the use of false passports by Mossad agents in Arab countries is well known.
Mossad agents who were arrested in Amman in 1997 after failing to assassinate the present Hamas Chief Khaled Meshaal by injecting poison in his ear, were travelling on false Canadian passports.
Dubai authorities say the Hamas commander was killed probably by strangulation preceded by electric shock. Mr. Al-Mabhough’s killers arrived in Dubai on different flights and stayed in different hotels.
However, footage captured by close circuit cameras showed all of them converging at the same hotel where the victim had checked in. The assassins stayed in Dubai for around 24 hours, during which time they neither used credit cards or local phones, the police chief said.