In Dubai, hit squad used Mossad-style tactics to kill Hamas leader
Evidence mounted on Tuesday that the 11-member assassination team that allegedly killed Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was traveling on fake passports. Suspicion has fallen on Israel and its Mossad intelligence service, which has carried out overseas assassinations in the past.
The spy-thriller assassination of the senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, alleged to be a go-between for the channeling of Iranian weapons to the Islamist movement in the Gaza Strip, was carried out with trained precision.Skip to next paragraph
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An 11-member team traveling on European passports flew to Dubai, trailed their quarry from the airport, and took a room across from Mr. Mabhouh's at the swank Al Bustan Rotana hotel. Four of them broke in to his room while he was out at meetings. When Mabhouh returned they killed him, with reports out of Dubai variously saying he was strangled to death or poisoned.
The team departed the tiny emirate shortly thereafter – in and out of the country in under 24 hours, having paid for everything in cash and, it emerged Monday, largely traveling on false passports.
On Monday the Dubai government released circuit camera recordings from the hotel from January 19, the day Mabhouh was killed, which includes footage of some of the alleged assailants. They also released photos and passport numbers for the 11-member team. Nine of them were traveling on British and Irish passports that the two countries have since said were fakes.
A British immigrant to Israel, whose name was used on one of the passports and who now lives near Jerusalem, told local reporters that he's never been to Dubai and pointed out that the picture of the man traveling under his name looks nothing like him. Israel's Channel 2 reported that the names of two other British immigrants to Israel have been used on forged British passports.
Israel has not taken responsibility for the killing. Dubai said that while it believes a foreign state may have been involved in the murder, it has not fingered Isreal. Hamas, for its part, is convinced that Israel was involved and has already vowed revenge.
Whatever the truth, Israel's Mossad intelligence service has been involved with foreign assassination attempts in the past and has used identity theft to get their operatives into position. Mabhouh was wanted in Israel for the murder of two Israeli soldiers in 1989, a crime that Hamas acknowledged having organized recently.
Here's a list of prominent Mossad linked hits: