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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dubai releases video of alleged assassins of Hamas official, Israel denies involvement


Suspects wanted in connection with the killing of a Hamas commander, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, in Dubai.
Suspects wanted in connection with the killing of a Hamas commander, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, in Dubai.
AP Photo/Dubai Ruler's Media Office

A sensational plot that resulted in the assassination of one of Hamas' officials is creating an international crisis for a number of countries.

On Wednesday, the U.K. announced that the Israeli ambassador will be called into the Foreign Office Thursday to "share information" about the assassins' use of identities stolen from six British citizens living in Israel. Ireland, too, launched an investigation into the use of three faked Irish passports by the hit squad. At least two Palestinians linked to the case were deported from Jordan and are now in Dubai custody.

Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli's foreign minister, told Army Radio today that "there is no reason to think that it was the Israeli Mossad, and not some other intelligence service or country up to some mischief." Israel’s policy on Mossad activities is generally that of ambiguity. The fact that officials denied involvement this time underscores the seriousness of the matter.

If Israel is officially implicated, it could potentially damage its relations with the U.K and other countries. This is even more critical since Mossad has used foreign passports in the past. In 1997, Mossad agents entered Jordan on Canadian passports and bungled an attempt to kill Hamas Political Bureau Chief, Khaled Mishaal with poison. The Israeli government was forced to provide the antidote. In 1987, the U.K. protested to Israel about what London called "the misuse by Israeli authorities of forged British passports."

The involvement of security agents affiliated with the Palestinian authorities could further weaken Abbas and strengthen Hamas in the eyes of the Palestinian people. Globally, this is the second high profile assassination in several months (and one of many in the past couple of years) and it may signal a new, dangerous upward trend that will encourage other regimes to carry out assassinations of political adversaries, which will weaken the rule of law.

Photo details: As shown in the collection of photos above, the suspects are, from left to right, top row, Evan Dennings of Irish nationality, Gail Folliard of Irish nationality, James Leonard Clarke of British nationality, Jonathan Louis Graham of British nationality; (From left to right, middle row) Michael Bodenheimer of German nationality, Paul John Keeley of British nationality, Michael Lawrence Barney of British nationality; (From left to right, bottom row) Peter Elvinger of French nationality, Kevin Daveron of Irish nationality, Melvyn Adam Mildiner of British nationality, Stephen Daniel Hodes of British nationality.

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