x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Foreign Ministry anxious about Mossad suspect

Co-operation wanted from Germany after Ury Brodsky, the Israeli man charged with forging a document in connection with the Dubai killing of Mahmoud al Mabhouh, is freed on bail.

ABU DHABI // The Foreign Ministry expressed concern yesterday that an alleged Mossad spy suspected of playing a role in a Dubai assassination is now free to return to Israel, even as judicial proceedings against him continue in Germany. The suspect, known as Uri Brodsky, was wanted in connection with helping arrange a false passport for a member of the hit squad that assassinated a senior Hamas leader, Mahmoud al Mabhouh.

The accused was granted bail last week by a judge in Cologne. In a statement reported by the state news agency WAM yesterday, Dr Abdurahim al Awadhi, the assistant minister for legal affairs, said: "The UAE seeks assurances that Brodsky is in no way connected with the murder of Mahmoud al Mabhouh in Dubai in January of this year." The ministry added that it expected to be closely informed about the case, as it might relate to a serious crime committed in the UAE. It requested full co-operation from the German authorities.

The man using the name Brodsky also went by the alias Alexander Verin, according to German media reports. He currently faces charges relating to passport fraud, and is accused of obtaining the documents for a suspect known as Michael Bodenheimer. A conviction would lead to a fine or a short sentence, according to Cologne's prosecutor's office. The supposed Israeli agent received a German passport in the spring of 2009, which he used to travel to Dubai. Polish police detained Brodsky in Warsaw in early June, on suspicion of obtaining a passport under false pretences.

While Germany had requested his extradition on espionage and forgery charges, Poland agreed to extradite him only on the forgery count. Mr al Mabhouh was a founder of the military wing of Hamas. He was found dead in his suite at the Al Bustan Rotana hotel near Dubai airport on January 20. Dubai Police said he had been drugged, and ruled the cause of death as asphyxiation. Footage from closed-circuit cameras in the hotel showed the crucial hours and minutes leading up to the discovery of Mr al Mabhouh's body. The recordings were considered instrumental in aiding the police investigation.

Authorities have accused Israel's intelligence operation, Mossad, of planning the murder, and a network of at least 25 suspected assassins has been identified. Most are believed to have travelled on doctored or fraudulently obtained Australian, French, British, Irish and German passports. The misuse of documents from other countries sparked an international furore. The British government ejected an unnamed Israeli diplomat, who was reportedly a senior operative with Mossad. Then in May, Australia expelled an unnamed official from the Israeli embassy.

@Email:mkwong@thenational.ae