Melvyn Adam Mildiner, who made aliya from London nine years ago, went to bed on Monday night suffering from what he said was pneumonia.
When he woke up the following morning, Mildiner said, he was stunned to discover that one of the members of an alleged hit squad who assassinated senior Hamas operative Mahmoud Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel last month went under an alias which was identical to his name.
“I have no idea how to clear my name. Interpol has a warrant out for my arrest. I don’t know how I will travel. I went to bed with pneumonia and woke up a ‘murderer,’” Mildiner told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
What began as a trickle of e-mails and calls quickly turned into a flood of incessant phone calls from the media on Tuesday, Mildiner added. Mildiner, 31, who lives with his wife in a town near Jerusalem, said the entire episode “came out of the blue.”
“First, clearly it isn’t me. It doesn’t look like me. The details are not correct [in the UK passport publicized by Dubai Police as allegedly being used by the hit squad member]. The date of birth is wrong. I’ve never been to Dubai. Someone, somewhere decided to use my identity for something,” Mildiner said. “I am seeking legal advice and looking into how I could clear my name. I don’t know to proceed. I’ve had offers to be on every television show, including some I’ve never heard of. I’m waiting to hear from my lawyer.”
“We don’t know for sure who did this, despite what everyone’s saying. I’m angry with whoever has done it. My identity should be a bit more sacrosanct than that,” he said.
For now, Mildiner said, he was focusing on getting rest, and would be giving media interviews a break. He asked that his photograph not be published.
All of the British and Irish passports allegedly used by the hit squad were forged, the UK and Ireland announced on Tuesday. Germany said it did not recognize the passport number used by one of the suspects.
The London-based Times newspaper said on Tuesday that UK authorities have launched an investigation to determine whether the identities of any Britons had been “stolen” by the hit squad.
According to the Times, one the people named by Dubai Police as a suspected assassin, Stephen Daniel Hodes, shares a name with a “real” Briton. The man’s mother, who lives in Manchester, “is in a complete tizz,” the newspaper quoted her colleague as saying.
“Thankfully there was the picture which is not her son. Whether someone has stolen identity or whether there are two Stephen Daniel Hodes I don’t know. She called in the office in a complete panic,” the woman’s colleague said.
Also on Tuesday, Ireland said three Irish passport holders identified by Dubai Police as being members of the alleged assassination team were not Irish citizens.
In a video made two weeks before his death, and broadcast on
Al-Jazeera earlier this month, Mabhouh said he kidnapped and murdered
two IDF soldiers, Ilan Saadon and Avi Sasportas, in 1989. Mabhouh said
he disguised himself as an Orthodox Jew during the terrorist attack.
Israeli defense officials said Mabhouh was tasked with smuggling
long-distance Iranian rockets into Gaza.
Dubai Police have not discussed the purpose of Mabhouh’s visit to the Gulf state.