Dubai murder suspects hiding out in Israel: police



ABU DHABI, W.G. Dunlop - Dubai's police chief said on Monday the suspects in a Hamas chief's assassination in the emirate are now hiding out in Israel to avoid arrest and urged the Jewish state to wage its wars at home.
Mahmud al-Mabhuh, a founder of the military wing of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, was found dead in his Dubai hotel room on January 20. Police on Sunday said he had been drugged then suffocated.



Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan
Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan
"I say (the suspects) are in Israel. Israel says they are in Israel," police chief Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan told a news conference in the United Arab Emirates capital. "If they stay in Israel, they won't be arrested."
But "eventually they will leave" and can then be detained, he added, referring to a list of suspects passed on to Interpol.
Twelve British, six Irish, four French, three Australian and one German passports were used by 26 named suspects, according to Dubai police, who say they had fled the Gulf emirate on flights to Europe and Asia.
Police say they are convinced the Israeli spy agency Mossad carried out the Cold War-style hit.
Khalfan called on Israel to fight its conflicts on its own soil. "When (Israel) has a conflict, let it wage the war on its own land, not on our land," he said.
In comments published in the press on Monday, Khalfan said a 27th suspect had been identified, also travelling on a European passport but this time unspecified.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said that the five Western nations whose passports were used "should answer to the world" over the murder.
Speaking in Geneva, Mottaki wondered whether their "security services, intelligence people or a part of their government have been involved, have been informed," and possibly coordinated the assassination.
Khalfan said all of the Western countries were cooperating with Dubai's investigation.
In Vienna, an interior ministry spokesman said police had passed on to Dubai the results of an investigation into the suspected use of Austrian mobile phone cards by the killers.
"We have completed our inquiries and sent the results to the Dubai authorities," the Austrian spokesman said.
Press reports have suggested that between seven and 11 Austrian phone cards were used by Mabhuh's killers.
Khalfan said the suspects would not have dared used US passports. "I think Israel was scared of provoking a clash with the United States which it considers its best friend," he told Al-Khaleej newspaper.
Israel has sought to play down the row, saying there is no hard proof of its involvement.
Officials have refused to confirm or deny the reports, but Israeli media see the killing as Mossad's work and the probe has caused a diplomatic headache for the Jewish state with the countries whose passports were used summoning its envoys to hear protests.
Former Mossad chief Danny Yatom said Western intelligence services also targeted "terrorists who threaten their countries," stressing he was not commenting on the Mabhuh case.
"No terrorist can claim the least immunity... All those among the terrorists who conceive, execute and recruit must be pursued," Yatom said.
On Sunday, Khalfan's deputy, Khamis Mattar al-Mazeina, said in a statement the killers had used the drug succinylcholine "to sedate Mabhuh before they suffocated him."
Succinylcholine, also known as suxamethonium, is used to induce muscle relaxation and is favoured by anaesthetists and emergency doctors because of its fast onset.
In addition to the suspects with Western passports, police have announced they have two Palestinians in custody, both residents of the emirate who had fled but were extradited back from Jordan.
Khalfan said on Sunday that one of the Palestinians being questioned had allegedly provided "logistics assistance" to the hit squad.
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Tuesday, March 2nd 2010
W.G. Dunlop
           


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