x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

New names, new shocks for the unwitting assassins

Friends and family members of 15 people whose identities were allegedly stolen for use by the assassins of a Hamas official in Dubai last month said they were shocked to see their loved ones' names connected to the crime.

Friends and family members of 15 people whose identities were allegedly stolen for use by the assassins of a Hamas official in Dubai last month said they were shocked to see their loved ones' names connected to the crime. Many of the names can be traced to real people with dual citizenship living in Israel. Joshua Daniel Bruce, an Australian, has lived in Jerusalem for the past seven years studying Judaism, according to his father, Harvey, who lives in Melbourne. "To my knowledge, he has not travelled anywhere in the past six or seven years," Mr Bruce said.

Mr Bruce's family was woken up yesterday by a representative of the Canberra government, who told them that "someone in Dubai had been given these doctored passports". "From what I saw, the printed detail was correct but the photo was not the same," Mr Bruce said. Joshua Daniel "found out from me", his father said. "Our total reaction is one of shock and surprise and of great concern." Mr Bruce did not comment on whether his son held two passports or whether he would be returning to Australia in the near future.

The father of another Australian whose identity was allegedly stolen, Nicole Sandra McCabe, said his daughter was pregnant and due to give birth in two months. "She has not left the country in the past few months," her father, Ivan, said. Ms McCabe has lived in Israel for the past three years. "The picture is not our daughter," he said. "But the name matches." The family has been in touch with Ms McCabe since the release of the information by Dubai Police.

"She is in shock," he said. "The same as we are here." Adam Korman, 34, was born in Australia but lives in Tel Aviv, where he fixes musical instruments, according to the newspaper Yediot Aharonot. He told the Israeli newspaper that he was shocked over what had happened. "It's identity theft, simply unbelievable," he was quoted as saying. "I have travelled all over the world but never visited Dubai or the United Arab Emirates."

sbhattacharya@thenational.ae mkwong@thenational.ae