Dubai says more European passports used in Hamas murder

The United Arab Emirates has identified four more suspects who carried fraudulent British and Irish passports in the Dubai killing of a Hamas commander.

Dubai says more European passports used in Hamas murder

The United Arab Emirates has identified four more suspects who carried fraudulent British and Irish passports in the Dubai killing of a Hamas commander, a source familiar with the investigation said on Tuesday.

The use of passports from European Union countries by the killers of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh has drawn condemnation from the bloc. Dubai has accused Israel of being behind the assassination.

"The UAE has identified two British suspects holding British travel documents and as part of the ongoing investigation has shared the information with the British government," the source in the UAE told Reuters.

Two more suspects in the killing of Mabhouh in a hotel in January were identified as holding Irish passports, the source added.

The Dubai authorities last week released the identities of 11 people who travelled on forged British, Irish, French and German passports to kill Mabhouh, and said that two Palestinians suspected of providing logistical support were in custody.

The new information brings the tally of fake British passports used to eight and Irish identities used to five.

Six people previously identified by Dubai as members of the hit squad are Britons living in Israel. They deny involvement and say their identities were "stolen".

Officials have said at least 18 people may have been involved in the assassination.

Mabhouh was "suffocated"

Mabhouh, who was born in the Gaza Strip but had lived in Syria since 1989, was killed in his hotel room on Jan. 19, a day after he arrived in Dubai.

He was suffocated, the source in the UAE told Reuters on Tuesday, but the authorities were awaiting results of additional tests.

"The EU strongly condemns the fact that those involved in this action (assassination) used fraudulent EU member states' passports and credit cards acquired through the theft of EU citizens' identities," a declaration on behalf of EU foreign ministers said.

The United Arab Emirates condemned on Sunday the abuse of European passports by the assassins as police said some of the killers entered the country with diplomatic passports.

In the statement on Monday that European diplomats said was intended to put pressure on Israel, EU foreign ministers said that the assassination was profoundly disturbing and that its citizens' rights were violated.

"There is information that Dubai police will not make public for the moment, especially regarding diplomatic passports" used by some of Mahmud al-Mabhuh's killers to enter Dubai, Khalfan was quoted by Al-Bayan newspaper as saying.

Khalfan, however, has said he is "99, if not 100 percent" sure that Mossad was behind the assassination, and added on Saturday that Dubai had evidence, including wiretaps, of the agency's role.

Khalfan said that Mabhuh's killing was "no longer a local issue, but a security issue for European countries," quoted on Sunday in another Emirati daily, the Abu Dhabi-owned Al-Ittihad.

In 1987, Britain protested to Israel about the forgery by Israeli authorities of British passports and said it received "assurances" steps had been taken to prevent future occurrences.

Over the years, a number of Hamas leaders have killed By Israel.

In 2004, Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was killed in an Israeli helicopter gunship attack in Gaza. One month later, another Hamas leader in the enclave, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, was killed when two missiles hit his car.

In 1997, Israeli agents tried to poison Hamas's exiled political supremo Khaled Meshaal in Amman, while in 1995.


Agencies



Related news reports:

 EU condemns Dubai Hamas killing, passport forgery

Israel's PM met Dubai murder team, diplomatic passports used

UAE summons EU envoys over passport forgery

Last Mod: 23 Şubat 2010, 16:58
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