Tags: Hamas | passports | fake | killers

Alleged Hamas Hitmen Passports Fake

Tuesday, 16 Feb 2010 11:43 AM


DUBAI — Dubai police questioned on Tuesday two Palestinian suspects in connection with the murder of a top Hamas militant, after naming an 11-member hit team travelling on European passports

The two men, both residents of the United Arab Emirates, had "fled to Jordan" after Mahmud al-Mabhuh was found dead in a Dubai hotel room last month, police chief Dahi Khalfan told AFP.

The pair were extradited from Jordan "three days ago," Khalfan said, adding there was "strong suspicion" that one of the two had met a member of the suspected hit team before the assassination.

Khalfan announced on Monday that police were hunting six British passport holders, three with Irish passports, including a woman, and the holders of a German and a French passport, all of whom had managed to leave the UAE.

British and Irish officials on Tuesday said the passports were fake.

"We are aware that the holders of six British passports have been named in this case. We believe the passports used were fraudulent and have begun our own investigation," a Foreign Office spokesman said.

In Dublin, a spokesman for the foreign affairs department said: "These purported passports are false. These are not genuine passports."

"We have run the passport numbers and names through our system and there are no passports in those names or with those numbers."

The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, has accused Israel of killing Mabhuh, 50, and vowed revenge.

Its members have said that Mabhuh, who was based in the Syrian capital, was on a visit to Dubai to buy weapons for the militant group's armed wing of which he was a founder.

Khalfan said on Tuesday that it was most likely that information about Mabhuh was "leaked" from people close to him, adding that Mahbhuh booked his hotel room just a day before his arrival on January 19.

Palestinian Authority police spokesman, General Adnan al-Dameeri, told AFP in Ramallah that Palestinian security authorities "confirmed information that two Hamas officers... were involved in the killing of Mabhuh."

On Monday Hamas official Ayman Taha told Al-Arabiya television that the pair, who were arrested in Jordan and handed over to Dubai, worked for the PA and took part in Mabhuh's assassination.

On Tuesday Taha told Al-Arabiya that Hamas "did not want to accuse anyone" apart from Israel.

Dubai prosecution on Tuesday issued an "international arrest warrant" against the 11 members of the alleged hit team, according to a statement.

The international police organisation Interpol said meanwhile it has not yet received any request from the Dubai authorities to hunt down the hit team.

On Monday Khalfan revealed details about Mabhuh's murder and said the militant entered the UAE using a passport that did not bear the same family name.

Mabhuh was tracked by his killers who had booked a hotel room across the hall from his and then they tried to force open his door, he said. It was however unclear if the broke in or if he let them in.

"He was strangled after receiving maybe an electric shock," the police chief said, denying media reports that Mabhuh had come to Dubai to buy arms from Iran.

Mabhuh's killers left Dubai within hours after the murder, having spent only 24 hours in Dubai and used no weapons, credit cards or local phone lines during their stay, Khalfan said.

He also showed reporters surveillance camera footage of the alleged killers arriving and departing and their movements in the hotel.

Several Hamas leaders have died over the years in what Israel calls "targeted killings", including Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin who was killed in 2004 in an Israeli helicopter gunship attack in Gaza.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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