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Hamas assassination: Dubai adds 15 more suspects to investigation

Dubai added 15 more suspects to its ongoing investigation into a Hamas assassination on Wednesday. There are now 26 suspects in what Dubai claims was a Mossad hit and most of them remain at large.

By Carol HuangStaff writer / February 24, 2010

Hamas assassination: Pictures of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, are seen in front of al-Wasim mosque at al-Yarmouk camp, near Damascus on Monday. Dubai said on Wednesday that it has 15 more suspects in the January assassination of al-Mabhouh.

Khaled al-Hariri/Reuters

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Dubai said on Wednesday that it has 15 more suspects in the January assassination of senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Authorities there have alleged his murder was part of an international plot using fake passports and identities stolen from a number of European nationals and coordinated by the Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency.

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Israel has refused to confirm or deny Mossad involvement and Dubai has not yet provided evidence to back up its claim.

A member of Hamas has also been detained in Syria in connection with the assassination Israeli media reported, citing a website tied to Fatah, Hamas' principal Palestinian rival.

Wednesday's news took the total number of suspects in Mr. Mahbouh's murder to 26. As with the earlier announced suspects, most of the new 15 are alleged to have traveled to Dubai on European passports -- the lion's share from Britain but some from Ireland, France and Germany.

Dubai said one of the new suspects used an Australian passport, the first time the investigation into passport fraud and possible identity theft has expanded beyond Europe and the Middle East.

The alleged spy-thriller nature of Mabhouh's killing emerged earlier this month when Dubai released the names, photographs, and passport details of what it described as an 11 member hit squad that arrived in Dubai, stalked Mabhouh with layered surveillance to his room at the Bustan Rotana Hotel, killed him with a combination of electrocution and suffocation, and then departed the country all in under 20 hours.

Most of the passports used by the first 11 suspects have since been found to have been fakes, and some of the names used belonged to British and Irish immigrants to Israel. The British foreign office was looking into whether the passports used by the new suspects -- six of which Dubai said were British -- are fakes.

According to Ynetnews, citing a website affiliated with Fatah, Syrian authorities have detained Hamas member Muhammad Nasser in connection with the murder. There has been rampant speculation that someone close to Mahbouh was involved in his murder, since a large team of alleged assassins seemed to know about his travel plans and whereabouts in advance.

Earlier reports had said that Hamas operative Nahro Massoud was being questioned in Damascus. There are also two Palestinians in detention in Dubai on allegations they helped the killers who are affiliated with Fatah.

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