'Mabhouh hit too costly to be considered a success'

Assassination not a successful operation because of media fallout, former Mossad man tells 'Post'.

February 26, 2010 03:06
1 minute read.
This combination image made from undated photos re

mabhouh assassins 311. (photo credit: AP)


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The assassination of senior Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January cannot be considered a successful operation, a former senior Mossad official told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

Rami Igra, who served in the Mossad for many years, said he doubted Israel was behind the operation, adding that in general, “spy agencies are supposed to act in secret. The minute their actions are no longer a secret, that is a failure.” Igra added that “the aim for whatever intelligence agency that was involved was not only to kill Mabhouh, but also to do so in such a way that it remained a secret. If 26 faces [of alleged agents] are exposed, creating unprecedented international embarrassment, then the operation fell short of its aims.”

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Overall, Igra said, “the price incurred for the assassination is very high and very problematic. It is being used for the delegitmization of Israel. I am sure whoever took the decision [to order Mabhouh’s killing] is not satisfied by the result, and would not repeat it in hindsight. You don’t have to be a genius to see that.” Igra said he was also extremely skeptical about the information pouring out of Dubai in recent weeks, and described some of the claims made by Dubai Police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim as “fantasy.

“Tamim has taken every foreigner who was in Dubai and placed them in the hit squad. The claim that agents escaped to Iran after the hit is impossible if the operation is linked to Israel as Tamim has claimed,” Igra said. “Some of these claims are nonsense. The more people Tamim identifies as being part of the hit squad, the more he undermines his own credibility.”

Asked to comment on the alleged number of hit squad members, now estimated to be 28 by Dubai’s police, Igra said a intelligence agency cell tasked with following a target would typically number ten to 15 people.

“Agents who follow a target don’t just tail him. They also go ahead of him. In the Mabhouh case, the intelligence agency knew which hotel he would stay at, but did not know his room number in advance,” Igra said. “Mabhouh had no routine in Dubai,” he added.

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