Dubai 99% sure Mossad killed Mabhouh

Confidant of Mossad chief: Spymaster won't quit over assassination.

February 18, 2010 09:55
2 minute read.
Meir Dagan

Meir Dagan. (photo credit: courtesy)

Dubai police chief said he was 99 percent certain that the Mossad was responsible for the assassination of top Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh , Gulf News reported on Thursday.

"Our investigations reveal that Mossad is involved in the murder. It is 99 percent, if not 100 percent, that Mossad is standing behind the murder," police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim told The National newspaper.

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Analysis: Dubai hit was not a botched job

Analysis: So did the Mossad do it?

Earlier, a confidant of Mossad chief Meir Dagan told the Reuters News Agency that there was no reason to resign over the scandal-fraught assassination in Dubai, adding that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is unlikely to ask him to.

Resignation would be tantamount to taking responsibility, the confidant said. Dagan's success in other and ongoing operations against Hamas, Hizbullah, Syria and Iran would outweigh any desire by Netanyahu to have him fall on his sword, said the confidant, who also hails from Israel's intelligence community. "There are national priorities here," the confidant added.

Dubai police this week released names, photos and passport numbers of 11 members of an alleged hit squad that killed Hamas military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh last month in Dubai.

Dubai police said that all 11 carried European passports. But most of the identities appeared to be stolen, and a number matched up with real people in Israel who have claimed they were victims of identity theft. Only the British passports, however, were believed to have involved stolen identities.

The confidant anticipated that Mossad would quietly lobby counterpart agencies of the countries whose passports were used for the Dubai mission to mellow their governments' scrutiny on Israel.

"This may not work, given the anger that some of these foreign ministries are signaling," the confidant said. "But even if there's only a process of internal deliberation, that might be enough to take the sting out of the recrimination," said the confidant.

On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said there was no reason to assume the Mossad was behind the operation simply because Dubai had released the information about the passports.

“I don’t know why we are assuming that Israel, or the Mossad, used those passports,” Lieberman told Army Radio in Israel’s first official comments on the affair.

But Lieberman did not deny involvement outright, saying Israel rightly maintained a policy of ambiguity where security operations were concerned.

“Israel never responds, never confirms and never denies,” he said. “There is no reason for Israel to change this policy.”

Herb Keinon in Jerusalem, Jonny Paul in London, and AP contributed to this report.

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