Dubai Police on Wednesday named an additional 15 suspected members of the assassination team that killed senior Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in January, bringing the total number of suspects to 26.
A number of the suspects are believed to share names with Israeli citizens.
Two of the newly named alleged assassins exited Dubai by boat to Iran, the Dubai Police said, further confounding widespread speculation that the Mossad was responsible for Mabhouh’s death.
CCTV footage showing the suspects riding in hotel elevators, walking down hotel corridors dressed in tennis outfits, and arriving at the airport was broadcast on Dubai TV following a press conference by police chief Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim. Images of the suspects’ passport photos were also released.
The new suspects have been named as Daniel Marc Schnur, Gabriella Barney, Roy Allan Cannon, Stephen Keith Drake, Mark Sklur and Philip Carr, who traveled on British passports; Ivy Brinton, Anna Shuana Clasby and Chester Halvey, who arrived in Dubai on Irish passports; David Bernard LaPierre, Melenie Heard and Eric Rassineux, who used French passports; and Bruce Joshua Daniel, Nicole Sandra Mccabe and Adam Korman, who entered on Australian passports.
In the hours that followed the release of the names, at least one Israeli citizen recognized his own on the list. Adam Korman, who immigrated to Israel from Australia when he was a child, told Hebrew media, “I am quite shocked by what I am hearing. This is identity theft. It’s a disgrace that people’s names and identities are being stolen.”
Some Hebrew media reports suggested that there were more Israeli citizens who shared names with those on the Dubai Police list.
Korman, 34, works at a musical instrument repair shop in Tel Aviv. He expressed concern over how he would travel abroad in the future, adding that he visited Australia regularly.
“I’ve never been to Dubai or the Gulf emirates. I feel scared and shocked since hearing about this,” he added, describing the use of the names on the passports as “irresponsible” and “a violation of human rights and the rights of the individual.”
Gabriella Barney – the daughter of Michael
Barney, a British Israeli man whose name appeared on a list of alleged assassins released by Dubai last week – found her own name on the expanded list on Wednesday.
The Barney family, based at Kibbutz Beit Ha’emek in the Galilee, has expressed shock at the development. Friends said the family was “in a state of shock” and was worried about future travel abroad.
During the press conference, Dubai Police said
that “friendly nations that cooperated with the investigation confirmed that the passports were issued in an illegal and fraudulent manner, and the pictures on the travel documents did not correspond to the original owners.”
Speaking to the Al-Arabiya Saudi satellite
network, a Dubai Police spokesman said, “Dubai police enjoy solid cooperation with many international security forces. We do not publish any facts until they are completely verified and double checked. This is our method of work, and we are fully committed to transparency of information in this sensitive case. Dubai will not allow anyone to violate its sovereignty and settle accounts on its territory.”
The first alleged members of the assassination team to arrive in the UAE were Gabriella Barney, who flew in from Germany; Mccabe, who arrived from Hong Kong; and Cannon, who came from Milan.
Those who used the aliases of Mccabe and Korman exited Dubai by boat to Iran, Dubai Police said, adding that the remainder of the suspects had fanned out to various destinations around the world, arriving in major cities such as Bangkok, Rome, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris and Doha via direct and indirect flights.
Members of the alleged hit squad used 14 credit cards issued by the Meta Bank in the US, police added.
A Dubai-based journalist told The Jerusalem Post that Iran was unlikely to reveal much following the police’s report, as “the trespassing of Iranian borders by Mabhouh’s assassins who were bearing fake passports is considered an insult to the local security apparatus.”
Iranian officials have repeatedly blamed Israel for Mabhouh’s death.
“More individuals might be involved in Mahmoud al-Mabhouh’s assassination,” Dubai Police added in the statement.
A local journalist told the Post, “We are proud
of our police here, but who knew that they possessed the qualities of Scotland Yard? It’s a surprise for us all. And it also seems that there might be something even bigger that they’re still keeping secret... and this [James Bond attitude] will explode in someone’s face.”
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told reporters on Wednesday night that Australia takes the reports of Australian passports being used very seriously.
“It’s not a trifling matter,” he said. “Therefore, the foreign minister is calling in the Israeli ambassador,” he said, adding that similar meetings would be held in Israel.
Meanwhile, referring to reports that two of the suspects had allegedly gone from Dubai to Iran, one government official in Jerusalem said sarcastically that Israel was now waiting for the Iranians to issue a protest.
The new Iranian “twist” to the story, the official said, just indicates the degree to which no one really knows what happened. One question that needs to be asked, the official said, is what information the Dubai authorities have that they are not releasing, and what are the considerations behind both the timing of the information released and the decisions about what to release and what to hold back.
On Monday, the European Union’s foreign ministers issued a statement saying the killing of Mabhouh “raises issues which are profoundly disturbing to the European Union.
“This was an action which cannot be conducive to
peace and stability in the Middle East,” the
statement read. “The EU strongly condemns the fact that those involved in this action have used fraudulent EU member states’ passports and credit cards acquired through the theft of EU citizens’ identities.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who met with a number of his EU counterparts on the sidelines of the meeting where that statement was issued, deflected any suggestion that Israel was involved.
Following a meeting with Ireland’s Foreign Minister Micheal Martin,
Lieberman issued a statement saying he had told Martin there was no
evidence linking Israel to the incident. Lieberman said that false
accusations were regularly leveled against Israel on numerous issues
and that there was a general Arab tendency to blame Israel for
Implying that many in the Arab world had a motive to kill Mabhouh,
Lieberman – before the reports emerged of two of the suspects going
from Dubai to Iran – said that “there are many internal struggles in
non-democratic countries and organizations in the Middle East.”