x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Police reveal DNA link in al Mabhouh killing

Dubai police say they have DNA proof of the identity at least one of top Hamas militant Mahmud al Mabhouh's killers.

Dubai police say they have DNA proof of the identity at least one of top Hamas militant Mahmud al Mabhouh's killers and will set up a multinational unit to hunt the alleged Israeli hit squad. "We have DNA evidence ... from the crime scene. The DNA of the criminals is there," the Gulf emirate's police chief Dhahi Khalfan said on the Arab satellite television Al-Arabiya. "We have the fingerprints, traces of DNA, and we know what they look like because of the (surveillance) cameras which have revealed the whole operation," the police chief said.

The murder of Mr al Mabhouh, whose body was found in a Dubai hotel room on January 20, has mounted international pressure on Israel after police said Israeli agents, most using stolen Western identities, had carried out the hit. But Israel has argued there is no evidence that its spy agency, the Mossad, was behind the hit. Dubai police have published details of 26 suspects together with passport photographs.

The international police organisation, Interpol, has circulated warrants for the arrest of first 11 suspects, after Dubai released their names and passport details. Dubai later said it had 15 more suspects, and Mr Khalfan said warrants for their arrest would be circulated through Interpol next week. The revelation of stolen identities being used by suspected Israeli agents has caused a diplomatic outcry, with Australia threatening it would "not be silent on the matter."

Mr Khalfan, quoted in Al-Bayan daily on Friday, said officers from the United Arab Emirates and from at least seven other countries in Europe, Australia and perhaps the United States would form a special unit to hunt the killers. Some of his officers have already travelled to several "European countries concerned" with the investigation, the government-owned daily reported. "We will work via European and Australian diplomatic channels - and perhaps American - to set up a working team formed from the Emirates police force and those of at least seven other states to track down the gang responsible for the assassination," the newspaper quoted Mr Khalfan as saying.

Twelve British, six Irish, four French, one German and three Australian passports were used by the suspects, according to Dubai police. Mr Khalfan said police had succeeded in identifying the suspects although some had worn wigs during the operation. The suspects were identified by footage from closed circuit televisions, which abound in security-conscious Dubai. *AFP