Dubai’s police chief has now fingered Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, as being responsible for the murder of , on January 19, Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim told The National:
“Our investigations reveal that Mossad is involved in the murder of al Mabhouh. It is 99 per cent, if not 100 per cent that Mossad is standing behind the murder,” said Gen Tamim.
The evidence that Dubai Police have shows a clear link between the suspects and people with a close connection to Israel, according to Gen Tamim. However, he did not disclose what the evidences were.
Earlier Gen Tamim had said if it is proven that Mossad is responsible for the killing of al Mabhouh “Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, will be the first to be wanted for justice as he would have been the one who signed the decision to kill [Mahmoud] al Mabhouh in Dubai’ and that an arrest warrant will be issued against him.
However, today Gen Tamim declined to comment on whether the UAE authorities is to issue an arrest warrant for Mr Netanyahu.
Dubai’s Gulf News has compiled a video of the CCTV footage that shows the assassins tracking their target. (There is no audio with this presentation.)
The Times provides an account of the movements of the assassins in the hours before and after al-Mahbouh’s murder.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband said that it was an “outrage” that the Dubai assassins had used British passports and the British government has launched an investigation.
Mr Miliband spoke out after the Israeli ambassador to London, Ron Prosor, was called to the Foreign Office to discuss the affair, which is rapidly escalating into a major diplomatic crisis.
“We wanted to give Israel every opportunity to share with us what it knows about this incident,” Mr Miliband said.
“We hope and expect that they will co-operate fully with the investigation that has been launched by the Prime Minister and will be undertaken by the Serious Organised Crime Agency.”
Mr Miliband denied that the UK Government was merely “going through the motions” of asking questions about the incident.
It is too soon to say how great the diplomatic fallout will be but since all the countries whose passports were used illegally — Britain, Ireland, France and Germany — are EU members, it seems likely that the matter will rise to the level of European Union involvement.
The BBC‘s Paul Reynolds writes:
At this stage, it is a matter of Britain asking questions, not making protests and taking retaliatory action (such as demanding an apology, restricting official contacts or even expelling the ambassador for a time).
During his meeting with Mr Prosor, the permanent under-secretary Sir Peter Ricketts asked for full Israeli cooperation with the British inquiry. This is likely to prove problematic if Mossad was involved. Israel would not want to reveal too much. So a lot depends on how the word “cooperation” is defined. A total failure to cooperate would trigger a British response.
One complicating factor is that in 1987, the Israelis promised Britain that it would not use British passports in secret operations again.
On that occasion, eight British passports reckoned to be for Mossad agents were found in a bag in a West German telephone booth.
The then Israeli ambassador in London Yehuda Avner did find himself on the receiving end of a British protest.
If it turns out that the assurance given then has been broken the British diplomatic reaction will be the more severe.
Updated: It sounds as though Dubai’s police chief is now backing off from his earlier threat to issue an arrest warrant for Netanyahu. Reuters reports:
Interpol should issue a warrant to help locate and arrest the head of Israel’s spy agency Mossad if the organization was responsible for the killing of a Hamas militant in Dubai, the emirate’s police chief said Thursday.