x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Police 'have Mossad on radar' after al Mabhouh assassination

Chief says murder of Hamas official has opened a window onto activities of Israeli intelligence agents.

DUBAI // The assassination of Mahmoud al Mabhouh, a senior member of Hamas, in January has made police more aware of the possibility that Israeli intelligence agents operate inside the country, the Dubai Police chief said yesterday. Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim said the Israeli spy agency Mossad is squarely on his force's radar following the murder.

"Meir Dagan [the head of Mossad] has opened a window on the activity of his spy agents in the region," said Gen Tamim. "We know a lot more of their methods, we uncovered their disguise and other details about these spies." On Tuesday, Gen Tamim gave any Mossad spies in the Gulf a week to leave, warning that they would be pursued if they did not. He did not, however, say the UAE had uncovered a Mossad spy network.

Al Mabhouh was murdered in the Al Bustan Rotana hotel on January 19. Dubai Police have accused Mossad of the murder, saying they have strong evidence it was involved. The police also say they have DNA evidence linking a number of the suspects to the crime. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied its involvement in the killing. Earlier this week, Interpol's General Secretariat, which has joined the Dubai-based international task force investigating the killing, confirmed that such evidence had been being gathered.

The 27 suspects who have been identified by Dubai Police entered Dubai on fake passports, mostly European ones, bearing the names of real people. Most of the names belonged to people who live Israel and are claiming that their identities were stolen. Gen Tamim said yesterday that the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department had confirmed that the passports used by the suspects were cleared by Dubai International Airport's electronic passport authenticity reader.

"The readers which are used in Dubai airport are the same as those used in Europe and they indicated that the passports were authentic, which brings up the question: how can one forge a passport chip?" said Gen Tamim. "I urge those who claim that their identities were stolen to lodge a complaint regarding the theft of their identities to their respective country to remove themselves from the perpetrators."

After the assassination, Dubai authorities said European passports would undergo heavier scrutiny. Police also said they would train passport control officers at the airport to better identify potential Mossad agents to prevent them from entering Dubai. @Email:wissa@thenational.ae