It’d make a good spy thriller novel, you know?
Those keepers of law and justice, the Dubai police have released the names of new suspects linked to the slaying of a top Hamas operative and founder Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.
Wednesday saw the Dubai police release the names of 15 suspects, bringing to 26 the number of people suspected. At least 15 of these names match those of real persons who live in Israel. All of them say that their identities were used without permission.
Israel still has not confirmed or denied involvement in the killing. Perhaps they never will. Israeli security officials at least admit knowledge that al-Mabhouh was involved in smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip with Iranian help and was wanted in the deaths of two Israeli soldiers who were captured and killed in 1989. But nothing can be proven in the assassination.
Five of the names released on Wednesday appear in Israeli telephone directories, and Australia’s foreign minister said that two other names belong to Australians living in Israel. An eighth, Roy Cannon‘s name, matches that of a 62-year-old man who immigrated to Israel from Britain.
His son, Raphael Cannon told The Associated Press that his father had moved to Israel in 1979.
The photographs on the passports released by the Dubai police, though, do not match the people whose names were used, and several countries have said that the documents were either forged or fraudulently obtained.
Although Dubai’s police chief, Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim, said he was nearly “100 percent” certain that Mossad was behind the killing, (suffocation with a pillow) the new details added at least one incongruous detail: Two of the suspects left Dubai on a ship bound for Iran, Israel’s archenemy, a seemingly unlikely move for alleged Israeli agents.
Australia, Britain, Ireland and France have all seek clarifications from Israeli diplomats.
Australia’s Herald Sun has a good description of the hit:
“The assassination is an old-fashioned tale of a “honey pot” theory, look-outs in tennis gear, and killers in trilbys, fake moustaches and wigs.
Their target was under surveillance from the moment he boarded an Emirates flight in the Syrian capital Damascus on January 20.
It is believed he was flying to Dubai to organise a new consignment of weapons from Iran that could strike Israel from Hamas strongholds on the Gaza strip.
His killers were waiting for him. From midnight on January 19, at least 11 members of the team began arriving in Dubai separately on flights from Zurich, Rome, Frankfurt and Paris.
They used duplicated passports of citizens from the UK, Ireland, France, Germany and Australia, and were co-ordinated throughout the operation from a command centre in Austria. Everything was paid for in cash. Their associates are suspected to have already been in Dubai.
They formed two teams, one for surveillance, the other to eliminate the target.
Al-Mabhouh arrived in Dubai at 3pm on January 20, without a bodyguard.
Collecting his baggage from the carousel, he had to walk around one of his adversaries as he made his way to passport control. He was watched all the way to the taxi rank and followed to the Al-Bustan Rotan hotel.
Two men in tennis gear were standing by the reception desk where he checked in at 3.25pm. The portly man with the moustache and his taller friend looked just like any tourists fresh from the court.
But they followed the Hamas commander into the lift, and he was one step closer to his death.
Within minutes the death squad knew which room he was in and within an hour the alleged leader, using the identity of French passport holder Peter Elvinger, rang from another hotel in the city and reserved room 237, directly across the hall from al-Mabhouh’s room 230.
The team then began a rotating system of surveillance, moving casually around the hotel and watching for him to leave his room.
Conscious of all the CCTV cameras in the hotel, the agents used disguises such as wigs, facial hair and glasses.
One was caught on camera entering a hotel toilet bald, and walking out with a full head of hair and glasses.
Just before 8pm, al-Mabhouh left his room, deposited some documents in the hotel safe and left the hotel for a walk. He had less than an hour to live.
Four men arrived at room 237 and waited for his return.
At 8.25pm the Hamas commander returned. There is no CCTV footage of the hallway outside room 230, but several theories exist about how the assassins were able to enter the room for the kill.”