DUBAI: More suspects, more intrigue in alleged Mossad assassination case
More suspects have been identified in the January killing of Hamas operative Mahmoud Mabhouh in Dubai, according to news reports.
Police Chief Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim has refused to comment on a Wall Street Journal article quoting an unnamed source in the investigation claiming they had fingered five more suspects traveling on British, Australian and French passports.
But the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National quoted a senior diplomat on Friday confirming the use of at least one additional passport in the assassination, which has widely been pinned on Israel's Mossad secret service.
These most recent reports support comments made by Tamim to the Emirati newspaper Al Sharq last month in which he claimed that "one or two" more European passports had been linked to the killing in which 27 non-Arab suspects have already been accused. Two Palestinians were also initially arrested, although Tamim mentioned in the same interview with Al Sharq that one of them would be released.
Tamim has been relatively quiet for the last month or so after a period of intense publicity following the assassination. Mabhouh was found dead in his Dubai hotel room on Jan. 19, and soon after Dubai authorities released the findings of an intensive investigation including surveillance video of the suspects, some of them in disguise, passport photos, credit card information, phone records and a detailed time line of the operation.
Some have criticized Tamim's showmanship -- holding daily press conferences and giving incendiary comments to the media -- and he himself has said he is under pressure to keep quiet.
Many of the names on the implicated passports belong to Israeli dual citizens, although Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement.
The alleged abuse of passports from a number of Western countries sparked a popular and diplomatic backlash, leading to the expulsion of a top Israeli diplomat and reported Mossad agent from Britain.
Britain is now rejecting any new Israeli Mossad station chief be sent to London until Israel formally pledges not to use British passports in similar clandestine operations, which it so far has refused to do, the Times of London reported this week.
-- Meris Lutz in Beirut
Photo: A view of the Dubai skyline. Credit: Paul Hart via Wikimedia Commons