Dubai police call on Interpol to help arrest Mossad head
- Emirate ’99% sure’ Israeli spies were behind Mabhouh death
– Israeli ambassador told to explain use of fake British passports
February 18, 2010
by Julian Borger and Mark Tran
Interpol should help arrest the head of Mossad if Israel’s spy agency was responsible
for the killing of a Hamas commander in Dubai, the emirate’s police chief said
In comments to be aired on Dubai TV, Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim
called for Interpol to issue “a red notice against the head of Mossad …
as a killer in case Mossad is proved to be behind the crime, which is likely
International pressure intensified against Israel’s spy service as official
“wanted” notices were released for the suspected team of Israeli secret
agents accused of participating in the assassination. The faces of an 11-strong
alleged hit squad appeared on the Interpol website this morning, 48 hours after
authorities in the United Arab Emirates issued arrest warrants for the killing
last month of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.
Their offences are listed as “crimes against life and health”. The
group stands accused of entering the emirate state using forged or stolen European
identities, murdering the militant in his hotel and then fleeing the country
on 19 January. The red wanted notices are not international arrest warrants,
but allow details of fugitives to be released worldwide with the request that
the wanted person be arrested and extradited.
Tamim said that the Dubai authorities were virtually certain that Mossad was
behind the assassination of Mabhouh, as the incident threatened to turn into
a diplomatic row between Israel and Britain over the use of false British passports.
“Our investigations reveal that Mossad is involved in the murder of Mahmoud
al-Mabhouh. It is 99%, if not 100%, that Mossad is standing behind the murder,”
Tamim told the National newspaper in the United Arab Emirates.
The Israeli ambassador, Ron Prosor, was at the Foreign Office this morning
for a brief meeting to “share information” about the assassins’ use
of identities stolen from six British citizens living in Israel, as part of
the meticulously orchestrated assassination of Mabhouh at a luxury hotel last
“After receiving an invitation last night, I met with Sir Peter Ricketts,
deputy-general of the British foreign minister,” Prosor said after the
meeting. “Despite my willingness to co-operate with his request, I could
not shed new light on the said matters.”
Britain has stopped short of accusing Israel of involvement, but to signal
its displeasure the Foreign Office ignored an Israeli plea to keep the summons
secret. “Relations were in the freezer before this. They are in the deep
freeze now,” an official told the Guardian.
David Miliband, the foreign secretary, insisted he was determined to “get
to the bottom of” how fake British passports were involved in the killing.
He said he “hoped and expected” that Tel Aviv would co-operate fully
with the investigation into the “outrage”.
Gordon Brown launched an investigation yesterday into the use of the fake passports,
which will be led by the Serious Organised Crime Agency. The British embassy
in Tel Aviv is also contacting the British nationals affected in the plot “and
stands ready to provide them with the support they need”, the Foreign Office
said last night.
“The British passport is an important part of being British and we have
to make sure everything is done to protect it,” Brown told LBC Radio yesterday.
A UAE official said the number of suspects in the assassination had widened
to at least 18. The official said the list included 11 people identified this
week, two Palestinians in custody and five others. Two women were among the
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz named the two Palestinians as Ahmad Hasnin, a
Palestinian intelligence operative, and Anwar Shekhaiber, an employee of the
Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. They were arrested in the Jordanian capital,
Amman, and extradited to Dubai. Both worked for a property company in Dubai
belonging to a senior official of Fatah, the political faction headed by the
Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, the paper reported.
Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said there was no proof that
Mossad was involved in Mabhouh’s killing in a Dubai hotel last month, but added
that Israel had a “policy of ambiguity” on intelligence matters.
There were calls in Israel for an internal government inquiry into whether
Mossad was responsible for identity theft from dual nationals, and criticism
of its chief, Meir Dagan, for what critics described as a clumsy operation that
risked alienating European allies.
“What began as a heart attack turned out to be an assassination, which
led to a probe, which turned into the current passport affair,” a columnist,
Yoav Limor, wrote in Israel Hayom, a pro-government newspaper. “It is doubtful
whether this is the end of the affair.”
Yesterday more details emerged about the assassination plot:
- The Guardian learned that a key Hamas security official is under arrest
in Syria on suspicion of having helped the assassins identify Mabhouh as their
- Authorities in Vienna have begun an investigation into whether Austria
was used as a logistical hub for the operation. Seven of the mobile phones used
by the killers had Austrian sim cards.
- Three of the killers entered Dubai with forged Irish passports that
had numbers lifted from legitimate travel documents.
It is not the first British-Israeli row over the misuse of British passports.
British officials are particularly angry because the Israeli government pledged
that there would be no repeat of an incident in 1987, in which Mossad agents
acquired and tampered with British passports.