Dubai is slowly dripping out information about the assassination of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh to keep the issue alive and make Israel squirm, Israeli diplomatic officials said Sunday as the Dubai police released forensic reports allegedly indicating he was first drugged and then suffocated.
Dubai police said Sunday forensic tests showed Mabhouh was killed in his hotel room by an alleged Mossad hit squad which first drugged him with a fast-acting muscle relaxant and then suffocated him with a pillow.
The drug, called succinylcholine, is frequently used by doctors to administer a breathing tube or anesthesia. Dubai police said tests discovered the drug in Mabhouh’s blood stream.
This is the latest version of causes of death, which have so far included – since Mabhouh was found dead in his hotel room on January 20 – natural causes, electric shock, strangulation and poisoning.RELATED:
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Dubai authorities have accused the Mossad of being behind the killing. Yet, according to Israeli officials, it is telling that while police chief Lt.-Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim is calling on the Mossad to own up to the assassination, and has threatened to ask for an Interpol arrest warrant against Mossad head Meir Dagan, the leaders of the United Arab Emirates, such as President Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, have not publicly commented on the incident, neither accusing Israel nor formally asking for any arrest warrants.
“So far this is a one man show,” the officials said, referring to the Dubai police chief. “The leadership is not interested in heating things up with Israel.”
CNN quoted Tamim Sunday as saying that he is now “100 percent sure” the Mossad was behind the assassination. “I used to say 99 percent, but now I can say 100 percent,” he said.
“The Mossad needs to be ashamed of its actions,” Tamim was quoted as saying. “They sent 26, 27 persons to assassinate one man who was involved in the capturing and killing of two Israeli solders.”
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.
Tamim, according to CNN, said Dubai harbored no ill will toward Israel or the Jewish people, “but we hate the hands, any hands that are covered with blood, whether they were Arab, Jewish or Muslim.”
On Sunday, Dubai deputy police chief Maj.-Gen. Khamis Mattar al-Mazeina told the Gulf News Daily
that succinylcholine can “cause immediate and temporary paralysis.” He added that the forensic report confirms Mabhouh died of suffocation “using a pillow.”
Dubai police also said a third Palestinian suspect was in custody. The Gulf city-state’s authorities have linked at least 26 other suspects to the alleged hit squad that traveled to Dubai on fake European and Australian passports to stalk and kill Mabhouh.
At least seven of the suspected killers share names with Israeli citizens, further fueling suspicions the Mossad was behind the hit.
Israel, however, has maintained a policy of ambiguity on the killing, neither confirming nor denying involvement.
On Sunday, Industry, Trade and Labor minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, told Army Radio that while he had no idea who killed Mabhouh, the slaying shows Hamas that “none of their people are untouchable, they can all be reached.”
The comments from Ben-Eliezer, a former defense minister, were the most direct yet by an Israeli official.
He said the results were “immediately translated,” claiming that Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah recently disguised himself in a wig on a trip to Syria.
“He understands that eyes are watching him and that is what is important,” Ben-Eliezer said.
Israel’s policy of ambiguity over the Mabhouh assassination has caused problems for its spokespeople, who cannot frontally take on allegations of fraudulent passport use, because to do so would be to admit involvement in the whole affair.
Nevertheless the passport issue is causing diplomatic fallout. One diplomatic official said he could not rule out the possibility that Australia, infuriated that fake Australian passports were used by the alleged hit team, chose to abstain, rather than vote for Israel, on a vote in the UN General Assembly Friday to keep the Goldstone Commission Report alive.
The General Assembly voted in favor of an Arab League proposal calling on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to report back to the General Assembly in five months on progress Israel and the Palestinians have made in independent investigations of the Goldstone Report.
The vote passed 98-7 with 31 abstentions – worse, from Israel’s point of view, than the original vote last November that endorsed the report and gave Ban until February 5 to report back on how each side was investigating. That vote passed by a margin of 114-18, with 44 abstentions.
This time all the EU countries who voted with Israel last time – the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovakia – abstained. Another 10 EU countries who abstained during the vote in November, voted for it on Friday, including Britain, France, Sweden, Belgium and Finland.
The EU has expressed anger at the misuse of European passports in the killing of Mabhouh and has condemned the fraudulent acts.
Australia, meanwhile, was the first country to have called in Israel’s envoy for clarifications of the alleged misuse of Australian passports, to say that those clarifications were unsatisfactory.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Saturday he was not satisfied
with the explanation Israel envoy Yuval Rotem gave to Australian
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith last week.
“Thus far we aren’t satisfied with that explanation,” Rudd said, adding
that the Australian government has to “proceed very carefully” in its
handling of the issue because it involves “very complex security and
At this point, Israeli diplomatic officials said, Australia has not
indicated that it would – as Britain has done – send police
investigators here to meet dual-nationals whose identities were used
for fake passports in the Dubai hit.
AP, Bloomberg and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.