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

Netanyahu reportedly met members of a hit squad at Mossad headquarters shortly before they went to Dubai to kill a Hamas commander

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


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met members of a hit squad at Mossad headquarters shortly before they went to Dubai to kill a Hamas commander, Britain's Sunday Times newspaper reports.

Mabhuh, a founder of the armed wing of the Palestinian movement Hamas, was found dead in his hotel room in Dubai on January 20.

The paper said, citing sources with knowledge of Mossad, "inside the briefing room were some members of a hit squad. As the man who gives final authorisation for such killings, Netanyahu was briefed on plans to kill Mahmoud al-Mabhouh."

Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, stepped out of his car and was greeted by Meir Dagan, the 64-year-old head of the agency.

"The mission was not regarded as unduly complicated or risky, and Netanyahu gave his authorisation, in effect signing Mabhouh’s death warrant", the paper said.

"When suspicions did arise, it was only because of Dubai’s extensive system of CCTV cameras that the work of the assassination team was revealed," the paper said.

The cameras recorded the hit-team’s movements, from the moment its members landed in Dubai to the moment they left. Last week their photographs were released by the Dubai police and splashed across the world’s newspapers and television screens.

"Diplomatic passports"

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.

Dubai police chief Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan said some of Mabhuh's killers used diplomatic passports to enter the country.

"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.

Dubai police last week released the names and photos of 11 suspects in Mabhuh's killing who entered the UAE on European passports -- six from Britain, three from Ireland, one from Germany and one from France.

Those passports appear to have been falsified or stolen, as they belonged to what appear to be "ordinary citizens".

Khalfan had not previously mentioned any of the suspects holding diplomatic passports. However, he said last week that there were others implicated in the killing whose names have not yet been made public.

"Security issue for Europe"

"The UAE is deeply concerned by the fact that passports of close allies, whose nationals currently enjoy preferential visa waivers, were illegally used to commit this crime," said a foreign ministry statement, carried by the official WAM news agency.

The UAE's minister of state for foreign affairs, Dr Anwar Gargash, has summoned European Union ambassadors to the UAE to brief them on developments in the case and to seek their continued cooperation with the investigation, the statement said.

"The abuse of passports poses a global threat, affecting both countries' national security as well as the personal security of travellers," UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan said in the statement.

"We fully intend that those responsible are brought to account for their actions," he said.

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.

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.

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


Agencies

Last Mod: 21 Şubat 2010, 18:39
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