Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, has accused Israel of killing Hamas leader, Mabhuh, 50, who was found dead in his luxury hotel room in Dubai on January 20 and vowed revenge.
In a video made two weeks before his death, and broadcast on Al-Jazeera earlier this month, Mabhouh said he kidnapped and murdered two IDF soldiers, Ilan Saadon and Avi Sasportas, in 1989. Mabhouh said he disguised himself as an Orthodox Jew during the terrorist attack. Israeli defense officials said Mabhouh was tasked with smuggling long-distance Iranian rockets into Gaza.
Police are hunting 11 suspects with European passports, including a woman, for the murder in a Dubai hotel room of a top militant of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, the Gulf emirate’s police chief said on Monday. The hit team which killed Mahmud al-Mabhuh last month was made up of six British passport holders, three with Irish passports, including the woman, and the holders of a German and a French passport, Dhafi Khalfan said.
Ireland said three Irish passport holders identified by Dubai Police as being members of the alleged assassination team were not Irish citizens, and the UK and Ireland announced that all of the British and Irish passports allegedly used by the hit squad were forged. Meanwhile, Germany said it did not recognize the passport number used by one of the suspects.
Kind of like a Chinese fire drill: Mass confusion over whom assassinated the Hamas operative.
Officials across the Middle East on Tuesday were pointing fingers of blame in different directions over who assassinated a top Hamas operative at a hotel in Dubai last month.
The confusion was sparked after Dubai Police held a press conference and showed video stills of 11 people of Middle Eastern descent suspected of making up the hit team that took out Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Dubai Police officials said all 11 suspects were carrying European passports (six British, three Irish, one French and one German).
Dubai Police Chief Lt.-Gen. Dhahi Tamim suggested that “leaders of certain countries gave orders to their intelligence agents to kill” Mabhouh. Unnammed British officials, however, told London’s Daily Telegraph that at least some of the members of the hit squad were likely Israeli Mossad agents using forged passports.
Hamas itself had a different take on the matter, accusing its rivals in the Fatah-ruled Palestinian Authority of being behind the assassination.
Dubai police have reportedly arrested two of the cell members caught on camera, and Hamas claimed both are of Palestinian descent and actually served in the PA security forces. PA officials fired back by challenging Hamas to reveal the identities of those arrested.
Mabhouh’s family, meanwhile, continued to blame Israel for his killing, noting that Jerusalem has contracted Arab agents to carry out hits in the past. Israel Today