DUBAI // The emirate's police chief said yesterday that the method used to kill Mahmoud al Mabhouh, a senior Hamas military commander, was a "Mossad method", in the first clear signal by UAE authorities that it was a political assassination. Dubai Police had earlier said only that the involvement of Mossad, the Israeli foreign intelligence service, could not be ruled out.
The police chief also confirmed yesterday that at least seven suspects, all holding passports from Western European countries, have been identified. Pictures of the suspects would be released in the coming days, he said. Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, said "the criminal method used in the killing of al Mabhouh is a Mossad method". He added that Mossad "has carried out operations" in the past using similar procedures.
Gen Tamim did not disclose any new information on how al Mabhouh was killed. However, he said the police were expecting a breakthrough in the investigation soon. Initial forensic reports suggested that al Mabhouh was given an electric shock before being suffocated but further tests are being conducted. Police suspect other causes could have contributed to his death, including poisoning. Al Mabhouh arrived in the UAE on January 19 and was found dead in his hotel room the next day. He was murdered within five hours of his arrival, authorities have said.
His assailants had been in the country less than 24 hours before the killing and left before his body was discovered the next day in his hotel, the Al Bustan Rotana in Al Garhoud, police said. Al Mabhouh, 50, was a founder of Hamas's military wing, the Ezzedeen al Qassam Brigades. He was wanted by the Israeli government in connection with the kidnappings of two Israeli soldiers in 1989. Hamas has accused Mossad of carrying out the assassination. The Israeli government has declined to comment on the claims.
Dubai Police said they would not co-operate with Hamas on the investigation, and would deal only with the Palestinian Authority, which governs most of the Palestinian Territories. firstname.lastname@example.org * With additional reporting by Praveen Menon