Dubai's police chief is sure all the suspects in the killing of a Hamas chief in a hotel room of the emirate are now hiding out in Israel to avoid arrest. Mahmud al Mabhouh, a founder of the military wing of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, was found dead in his Dubai hotel room on January 20. Police yesterday said he had been drugged then suffocated. "I am sure that all the suspects are in Israel," police chief Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim told a media conference in Abu Dhabi. "If they stay in Israel, they won't be arrested, but eventually if they leave they will be arrested," the police chief added, referring to a list of suspects passed on to Interpol. Twelve British, six Irish, four French, three Australian and one German passports were used by 26 named suspects, according to Dubai police, who say they had fled the emirate on flights to Europe and Asia. Police say they are convinced the Israeli spy agency Mossad carried out the Cold War-style hit. In Abu Dhabi, Gen Tamim appealed to the western five countries whose travel documents were used to cooperate in the investigation. "I want the states whose passports were used in the assassination to cooperate with us, and we'll appreciate their cooperation," the police chief said. In many of the stolen identity cases, the documents appeared either to have been faked or obtained illegally. The investigation has caused a diplomatic headache for the Jewish state in which the five countries whose passports were used have all called in Israeli envoys for talks. Gen Tamim says the suspects would not have dared used US passports. Israel itself has sought to play down the row, saying there is no hard proof of its involvement. Officials in the Jewish state have refused to confirm or deny the reports, although Israeli media see the killing as the work of Mossad. * AFP
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