February 23, 2010 / 8:56 AM / 10 years ago

More British, Irish passports used in Dubai killing

DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates has identified four more suspects who carried fraudulent British and Irish passports in the Dubai killing of a Hamas commander, a source familiar with the investigation said Tuesday.

Two suspects in the killing of Hamas militant Mahmoud al-Mabhouh are shown in a Dubai hotel. REUTERS/Dubai Police/Handout

The use of passports from European Union countries by the killers of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh has drawn censure from the bloc. Dubai has accused Israel of being behind the assassination, but the Israeli foreign minister has said there was no proof his country carried out the killing.

“The UAE has identified two British suspects holding British travel documents and as part of the ongoing investigation has shared the information with the British government,” the source in the UAE told Reuters.

Two more suspects in the killing of Mabhouh in a hotel in January were identified as holding Irish passports, the source added.

The Dubai authorities last week released the identities of 11 people who travelled on forged British, Irish, French and German passports to kill Mabhouh, and said that two Palestinians suspected of providing logistical support were in custody.

The new information brings the tally of fake British passports used to eight and Irish identities used to five.

Six people previously identified by Dubai as members of the hit squad are Britons living in Israel. They deny involvement and say their identities were stolen.

Officials have said at least 18 people may have been involved in the assassination.

MABHOUH WAS SUFFOCATED

Mabhouh, who was born in the Gaza Strip but had lived in Syria since 1989, was killed in his hotel room on January 19, a day after he arrived in Dubai.

He was suffocated, the source in the UAE told Reuters on Tuesday, but the authorities were awaiting results of additional tests.

Hamas has said Mabhouh was involved in smuggling weapons from Iran to the Gaza Strip.

In a short statement Monday that European diplomats said was intended to put pressure on Israel, EU foreign ministers said that the assassination was “profoundly disturbing” and that its citizens’ rights were violated.

Dubai police have said they are virtually certain that Israeli intelligence agency Mossad carried out the killing, and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed vowed Sunday to bring those responsible to justice.

Mabhouh’s killing was the third high profile murder in less than two years in the regional trade and tourism hub Dubai, one of seven emirates in the UAE federation, where violent crime is rare.

Editing by Jon Boyle

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