[PeterPaul.ca] — Dubai police identified 15 additional suspects on Wednesday in the January assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, further expanding an investigation and creating additional tensions between European countries and the state of Israel.
The release of the additional identities bring the number of suspects sought to 26. The new suspects carried British, French, Irish, and Australian passports, Dubai police said.
Mabhouh, who was killed on January 20 in his Dubai hotel room, was a senior Hamas commander in Gaza City and co-founder of Al-Qassam, Hamas‘ military wing. Mabhouh had played a role in the 1989 deaths of two Israeli soldiers, Hamas and Israeli officials have said.
Unconfirmed media reports said Mabhouh was in Dubai to buy weapons for Hamas at the time of his death. Ma’an News Agency, a non-governmental news agency of independent Palestinian journalists, said in a news report that Mabhouh died on Wednesday in a United Arab Emirates hospital.
“Hamas’ armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, announced the death of its co-founder in exile Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, who died of terminal cancer in a hospital in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday,” said the news report.
Mossad suspected, Israeli official hails killing
Israel’s external intelligence service, the Mossad, is widely suspected in the risky assassination. The country has not officially confirmed or denied its involvement in Mabhouh’s killing but the main opposition leader has hailed his death.
Tzipi Livni, leader of the centrist Kadima Party, commented on Mabhouh’s death on Tuesday. “The fact that a terrorist was killed, and it doesn’t matter if it was in Dubai or Gaza, is good news to those fighting terrorism,” she said.
Passports not faked
Contrary to earlier reports, the passports of the suspects in the killing were not faked, Dubai Police Commander-in-Chief Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim said on Thursday.
Lt.-Gen. Tamim said that Dubai immigration officers had been trained in spotting fake passports by European security experts. “This training qualifies immigration officers to spot fake passports. They applied these procedures at Dubai airport when the alleged [assassins] entered the country,” said Tamim.
“No forgery was found in those passports,” he added.
To date, 12 British, 6 Irish, 4 French, 3 Australian, and one German passport, have been linked to each of the suspects, the Dubai Ruler’s Media Office said Wednesday.