A story of murder and intrigue is dominating the news in Israel and beyond.
News commentators, law enforcement officials and political leaders are scrambling to piece together evidence leading to the identification of the perpetrators.
At least 11 members of the group suspected of the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai on January 20 used European passports, according to Dubai police officials. Another six suspects have yet to be identified.
Six of the suspects held British passports, while the others used Irish, French and German documents to enter the UAE. Both the British and the Irish governments have said the passports were fake and want to investigate further.
The Irish and German counterfeit documents even had the wrong number of digits and letters.
There are conflicting reports from the Dubai police, and it is unclear whether al-Mabhouh was injected with a lethal drug or strangled in his hotel room.
Hamas, the Islamist group in control of the Gaza Strip, and al-Mabhouh’s family have blamed the Israeli national intelligence agency, Mossad, for the assassination. But Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman claims there is no proof that Israel was behind the crime.
Worldfocus has culled together a selection of comments on the web. From Aidan Maconachy Blog:
It is certainly true that the Dubai assassination has a number of characteristics in common with Mossad operations in the past. In addition the al-Mabhouh assassination occurred at a time when Israel is being accused of engaging in a subversive, undeclared war in the region.
From War in Context, :
There’s no conclusive proof yet that this was a Mossad operation but the images [of the suspects] do at least carry suggestions that the individuals involved had taken measures to conceal their identities.
For instance, this crew all seem to go to an optician who specializes in retro-frames – hunky ugly ones that stand out until the operative stops wearing them or switches to an everyday designer frame. The woman, minus blond wig and ruby lipstick would also lose her signature look. Six shaved/cropped heads – again, a few months of hair growth and they’ll be harder to pick out.
As Dubai police indicated in their briefing, this team even went to the lengths of avoiding using cell phones. Add all this up and this looks like an operation meticulously designed to be clandestine.
From Elder of Ziyon:
Everyone is blaming everyone else for the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai – but almost everyone blames the one country that there is no evidence for (yet).
The latest: Dubai police extradited two Palestinian Arabs from Jordan and arrested them in connection with the murder, and one of them is a [Palestinian Authority] official. So Hamas is accusing the PA of working with the Israelis in planning the hit.
The PA, meanwhile, says that Hamas members themselves must have been involved, and that Israeli intelligence has penetrated the highest leadership positions of Hamas (something that Hamas itself has been investigating.)
Dubai police had meanwhile given out photos of eleven people they say were involved, plus a very neat videotape showing parts of the operation.
Watch a Gulf News compilation of CCTV footage of the hit squad’s movements in the Dubai hotel:
– James Matthews