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Dubai releases video on assassination team that hit Hamas

Dubai police on Monday named 11 European passport holders suspected of killing Hamas commander Mahmoud Mabhouh last month. It's only the latest in a number of high-profile international assassinations in Dubai in the past couple of years.

By Carol HuangStaff Writer / February 16, 2010

Dubai's police chief, Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, identifies eleven suspects wanted in connection with the killing of a Hamas commander, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, in his Dubai hotel room last month, at a press conference in Dubai, Monday.

Dubai Ruler's Media Office/AP

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Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai police announced a global dragnet Tuesday for 11 European passport holders suspected of converging here last month, killing Hamas commander Mahmoud Mabhouh, and skipping the country within 19 hours.

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While the high-profile assassination may have been dramatic, it was not the first in this busy hub of foreign visitors. The country has released CCTV footage of the alleged assassins' movements before Mr. Mabhouh's murder.

The United Arab Emirates city has made headlines three times in less than two years for shocking high-profile murders. To avoid such scandals, Dubai may have to recalibrate its characteristic openness, both to controversial figures like Mr. Mabhouh and to Western passport holders like the 10 men and one woman who allegedly killed him.

Ireland and Britain said Tuesday that the nine passports that identified team members as coming from their countries were fake. Melvyn Adam Mildner, a British man who lives in Israel and whose name was on one of the passports, told Reuters that he has never been to Dubai and was not involved in any way.

Dubai’s “intelligence, surveillance, (and) reconnaissance are first-rate. But it’s their visa regime that people can poke holes through if they want to,” says Theodore Karasik, director of research and development at the Institute for Near Eastern and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai. “There needs to be new metrics put in place to prevent this from happening.”

Foreigners welcome

Dubai has long played host to myriad nationalities and exiled politicians, dissidents, and other controversial individuals. “The policy is basically, leave your ideology at the door, including your weaponry,” Dr. Karasik says. “Your political agenda is not welcome, but you’re more than welcome to come and visit.”

But as visitors have come, so have their enemies. Last March, former Chechen military commander Sulim Yamadayev was shot dead in a parking garage. In 2008, Lebanese pop star Suzanne Tamim was stabbed to death in her apartment. An Egyptian billionaire said to be her lover was later sentenced to death in Cairo for hiring someone to kill her.