Israel's Mossad to lobby over fake passports in Europe

Mossad chief Meir Dagan sees no reason to resign over Hamas assassination in Dubai.

Israel's Mossad to lobby over fake passports in Europe

Mossad chief Meir Dagan sees no reason to resign over Hamas assassination in Dubai, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is unlikely to ask him to, a confidant of the Israeli spymaster said on Thursday.

Hamas has blamed Israel for the assassination of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh on the Jan. 20.

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.

Discerning a Mossad modus operandi and predicting a stink over the trans-national identity thefts, some Israeli pundits suggested Dagan would be forced to step down -- like predecessor Danny Yatom in 1997 after a botched assassination in Jordan.

But the confidant, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters: "Dagan has no intention of quitting before his tenure is completed."

Resignation would be tantamount to taking responsibility, the confidant said. The hotel-room hit on Mabhouh was dressed up as death by natural causes but was uncovered more than a week later when UAE police launched a murder probe at Hamas's urging.

"Mossad to quietly lobby"

Instead, the confidant anticipated Mossad would quietly lobby counterpart agencies in Britain, Ireland, Germany and France -- the countries whose passports were used for the Dubai murder.

"This may not work, given the anger that some of these foreign ministries are signalling," the confidant said. "But even if there's only a process of internal deliberation, that might be enough to take the sting out of the recrimination."

In his first term as premier, Netanyahu approved a murder plan to poison Hamas head Khaled Meshaal in Amman. The Mossad assassins, posing as Canadians, fumbled the attack and were arrested by Jordan after seeking refuge at the Israeli embassy.

Israel had to make amends, such as with Yatom's resignation, "because in that case, our men were prisoners, which meant both proof of involvement and that concrete action was required to recover them", the confidant said.

Israel's most pressing domestic blowback from Dubai appears to be in the prospect that the seven of its citizens unwittingly identified as suspects could be be subject to prosecution abroad.

"This could complicate things for Dagan, though the real legal risks are not at all clear yet," the confidant said.

Over the years, a number of Hamas leaders have killed in what Israel calls "targeted killings."

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.

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.



Related news reports:

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

Dubai identify European hit squad over Hamas murder / PHOTO

Dubai may issue arrest warrant for Israel PM over Hamas killing

Palestinians mourn Hamas Dubai death / PHOTO

Hamas says probes "Israel's Dubai assassination"

Last Mod: 18 Şubat 2010, 12:34
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