Israel sees 'no reason' Mossad behind Hamas murder in Dubai

Israel's foreign minister said "there is no reason to think that it was the Israeli Mossad over killing a Hamas commander in Dubai."

Israel sees 'no reason' Mossad behind Hamas murder in Dubai

Israel's foreign minister said on Wednesday "there is no reason to think that it was the Israeli Mossad over killing a Hamas commander in Dubai."

Hamas has blamed Israel for the assassination, and Dubai police have said they could not rule out Israeli involvement.

"There is no reason to think that it was the Israeli Mossad, and not some other intelligence service or country up to some mischief," Avigdor Lieberman, asked about the murder, told Army Radio.

But Lieberman did not deny outright Israeli involvement in the killing of Hamas's Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel last month, saying Israel has a "policy of ambiguity" on intelligence matters and there was "no proof" it was behind the assassination.

Men with the same names as seven of the 11 suspects whose European passport photos were distributed by Dubai live in Israel, and those reached by reporters insisted their identities had been "stolen" and noted the pictures were not a match.

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.

Dubai said it issued international arrest warrants for all suspects, who also include Irish and French passport holders. A government source said six other people, not yet identified, were also believed to be involved.

"Fake passports"

As the questions over suspects' identities deepened, Britain and Ireland said they believed the British and Irish passports used by the alleged killers were fake.

A source close to the French intelligence services told Reuters a French passport which Dubai said was used in the operation had a valid number but incorrect name.

"It was a very good fake," the source said.

Austria's Interior Ministry said it had launched an investigation into the suspected use of at least seven mobile phones with pre-paid Austrian chips by Mabhouh's killers.

In the radio interview, Lieberman saw any prospect of diplomatic problems with Britain "unlikely" over reports a Mossad team had used counterfeit British passports.

"I think Britain recognises that Israel is a responsible country and that our security activity is conducted according to very clear, cautious and responsible rules of the game," he said.

In addition to hunting the 11 suspects, Dubai police were also questioning two Palestinians who were extradited from Jordan on "strong suspicion" that one of them had met a member of the suspected hit team before the assassination.

Hit squads dispatched by Mossad have used foreign passports in the past, notably in 1997 when agents entered Jordan on Canadian passports and bungled an attempt to kill Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal with poison.

In 1987, Britain protested to Israel about what London called the misuse by Israeli authorities of forged 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 in what Israel calls "targeted killings."

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.

Agencies

 

Related news reports:

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Last Mod: 18 Şubat 2010, 11:46
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