By Kim Sengupta, Donald Macintyre and Ben Lynfield in jerusalem
– 19 February 2010
Dubai yesterday explicitly accused Mossad of assassinating Hamas military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh on its soil, as David Miliband declared the use of British passports in the plot “an outrage” and demanded “full co-operation” from Israel in finding out what had happened.
The Foreign Secretary's comments came after an apparently fruitless meeting in London between the Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor and Sir Peter Ricketts, the permanent secretary who heads Britain's diplomatic service, which lasted just 14 minutes with no sign of any intelligence being shared.
As the Israeli envoy left Whitehall he said: “I was unable to add any information. I could not shed new light on the said matters”.
The international fallout into Mabhouh's death showed no sign of abating. In Paris, the French government also summoned an Israeli diplomat, and Germany — often seen as one of the West European countries most sympathetic to Israel — called on Israel to “provide any information it had which might help explain the circumstances” of the Hamas militant's death.
In Dubai, police chief Lt General Dahi Khalfan Tamim told the government-owned National newspaper that it was “99% if not 100%” certain that the Israeli intelligence agency was behind Mabhouh's killing in a luxury hotel room last month. In comments due to be aired on Dubai TV last night, he also called on Interpol to issue “a Red Notice against the head of Mossad as a killer in case Mossad is proved to be behind the crime, which is likely now”.
Red Notices are a step short of an international arrest warrant but allow Interpol “to assist national police forces in identifying or locating those persons with a view to their arrest and extradition”.
There was no immediate comment from Israel in response to the Dubai police chief's claims. Yesterday, Interpol published Red Notices for the 11 suspects wanted in connection with the slaying at the Al Bustan Hotel, along with their photographs and “fraudulently used” names on the passports used in order “to limit the ability of the accused murderers from travelling freely using the same false passports”, the international anti-crime agency said.
Interpol said the notices were not meant to stigmatise those whose identities were stolen, but to help clear them of suspicion by helping police apprehend the true suspects, whose offences are listed as “crimes against life and health”.
Meanwhile, Hamas leaders yesterday identified the two Palestinian suspects being held by Dubai authorities in connection with the assassination as members of security forces loyal to the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, implying but not explicitly saying that Fatah collaborated with Israel in carrying out the killing.
They named the two as Ahmed Hasanein and Anwar Shehaybar, saying they were Gazans who left the Strip after Hamas seized power from Fatah there in 2007. One of the two is said to have been in contact with a member of the hit squad, “Peter”, in the days before the assassination, and both are believed to have been arrested in the Jordanian capital, Amman, before being extradited to Dubai. Responding to the Hamas allegations, Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib said: “We're confident the PA was not involved.”