Dubai: Israeli arrivals to be detected by looks

"We will not allow those who hold Israeli passports into the UAE no matter what other passport they have," police chief warns.

March 1, 2010 19:07
2 minute read.
Dubai's Police Chief Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan Tamim

dubai police chief tamim khalfan 311. (photo credit: AP)


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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Following the assassination of a Hamas arch-terrorist, Dubai police will attempt to identify Israelis traveling on foreign passports by assessing their physical features and manner of speaking upon arrival, the police chief said Monday.

Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim said travelers suspected of being Israeli will not be allowed into the Gulf country even if they arrive with alternative passports. The Emirates will "deny entry to anyone suspected of having Israeli citizenship," Tamim said.

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The move follows the killing of senior Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, blamed by the Emirates authorities on the Mossad. Beyond being responsible for smuggling arms from Iran to Gaza and founding Hamas’ military wing, Mabhouh was also involved in the 1989 kidnapping and murder of IDF soldiers Avi Sasportas and Ilan Sa’adon.

Mabhouh was found dead in a Dubai hotel room January 20. The authorities have identified at least 26 suspects of the alleged hit squad that traveled to Dubai on fake identities and forged European and Australian passports to kill Mabhouh.

At least 15 of the suspected killers share names with Israeli citizens, further fueling suspicions the Mossad was behind the hit. Israel has maintained a policy of ambiguity on the killing, neither confirming nor denying involvement.

"It is disgraceful how the killers abused European (and other) passports and UAE soil to assassinate," Tamim told reporters at the sidelines of a security conference in Abu Dhabi.

"We will not allow those who hold Israeli passports into the UAE no matter what other passport they have," Tamim said.

He did not explain what procedures would be used to identify the Israeli visitors, except that the police will "develop skills" to recognize Israelis by "physical features and the way they speak."

It was also unclear if the measure would apply to Israeli athletes competing in international sports events in the Emirates and how it could affect Israel's participation in international meetings here.

Last month, Israel's Shahar Peer was allowed to play in a Dubai tennis tournament, a year after the event's organizers were fined $300,000 for denying her a visa to participate in the international tournament citing security concerns.

Earlier this year Israel’s National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau was allowed into the Emirates for the first time to attend a conference on alternative energy in Abu Dhabi, where International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is based. The agency's activities have to be open to Israel because it is a member state.

Many Israelis hold passports of other countries, allowing them to travel to states that have no diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, including all Arab countries, save Egypt and Jordan.

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