Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with senior Mossad officials in January and authorised the killing of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, according to a report citing unnamed sources in the British paper, The Sunday Times.
Netanyahu was welcomed to Mossad by its chief Meir Dagan and briefed on plans to kill Mahmud al-Mabhuh, a top commander of the Islamist movement that rules Gaza, the paper said, quoting unnamed sources with knowledge of Mossad.
The prime minister reportedly authorised the mission, which was not seen as complicated or risky.
"Typically on such occasions, the prime minister intones: 'The people of Israel trust you. Good luck,'" the paper added.
It also quoted a source saying burns from a stun gun were found on the body of Mabhuh, a founder of Hamas's armed wing who was killed on a visit to Dubai, and that there were traces of a nose bleed, possibly from being smothered.
The high-profile killing has caused diplomatic tensions between Israel and four European countries -- Britain, Ireland, France and Germany -- whose fake passports were linked to the hit.
Interpol has issued arrest notices for 11 suspects, while Israel has shrugged off calls for Dagan to be arrested over the January 20 killing.
No government has directly accused Israel but Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim has said it was "most likely" Mossad was behind the crime and wants Dagan to bear responsibility if it was.
"The Dubai police have provided no incriminating proof," a senior Israeli official told AFP Friday, asking not to be identified.
Mossad has used agents with fake passports for operations in the past. Experts say it is highly unlikely that those who carried out the killing will ever be caught.
Selected surveillance footage from the Al Bustan Rotana hotel
Dubai police believe these are the 11 suspects in Mahmud al-Mabhuh’s murder. Six of the alleged killers held passports from Britain, three from Ireland, one from France and one from Germany. Interpol issued arrest warrants for the 10 men and one woman on Feb. 18.
Mahmud al-Mabhuh helped found Hamas’ military wing and has admitted involvement in the 1989 kidnapping and murder of two Israeli soldiers. Israel suspects him of smuggling Iranian arms into Gaza and of being a key link between Hamas, Hezbollah in south Lebanon and Iran.
At 3:25 pm on Jan. 19, Hamas military commander Mahmud al-Mabhuh (circled, dressed in white) arrives at the front desk of the Al Bustan Rotana hotel to check in. Dubai police believe that two of the other men in this frame are trailing the victim.
As Mabhuh is escorted to room number 230, two men in sports clothes and carrying tennis rackets are close behind.
Trailing the victim
Dubai police believe the two men followed the victim to ascertain his room number. They later booked the room across the hall.
Police say Mabhuh left the hotel for several hours, during which he was tracked by a series of intelligence teams. Police believe he returned to his room at 8:25 pm and was killed shortly afterwards, although his body was not found until the next morning.
Leaving the scene
Investigators believe this frame shows the suspects leaving the scene of the crime at 8:46 pm. Forensic teams said that Mabhuh had received electric shocks and may have been suffocated.
The spy chief
Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim has said he is "99 percent, if not 100 percent" certain that Israeli intelligence agency Mossad is behind Mabhuh’s murder. He has called for the arrest of Mossad chief Meir Dagan (pictured) if Mossad is implicated.
One of the suspects used a French passport in the name of Peter Elvinger. France's Foreign Ministry said it is deeply concerned about the "malicious and fraudulent use" of French travel documents.
Date created : 2010-02-21