Dubai's police chief said Monday an 11-member hit squad with European passports was responsible for killing a Hamas commander in his hotel room last month, but he did not directly implicate Israel as the Islamic militant group has. The Gulf emirate released photos, names, nationalities and passport numbers of all 11 suspects.
The details given by Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan Tamim are the most comprehensive accusations by Dubai authorities since the body of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was found Jan. 20 in his luxury hotel room near Dubai's international airport.
Tamim said it was possible that “leaders of certain countries gave orders to their intelligence agents to kill” al-Mabhouh, one of the founders of Hamas' military wing. But he did not name any countries.
Hamas has accused Israel and vowed revenge.
Tamim sketched out a highly organized operation in the hours before the killing, clearly done with advance knowledge of the victim's movements, and said the killers spent less than a day in the country. He said forensic tests indicate al-Mabhouh died of suffocation, but lab analyses are still under way to pinpoint possible other factors in his death.
He showed a news conference surveillance video of the alleged assassination team arriving on separate flights to Dubai the day before al-Mabhouh was found dead. The members of the alleged hit-squad checked into separate hotels.
They paid for all expenses in cash and used different mobile phone cards to avoid traces, he added.
At least two suspected members of the team watched al-Mabhouh check in to his hotel and later booked a room across from the Hamas commander, Tamim said.
He added that there was “serious penetration into al-Mabhouh's security prior to his arrival” in Dubai, but that it appeared al-Mabhouh was traveling alone.
“Hamas did not tell us who he was. He was walking around alone,” said Tamim. “If he was such an important leader, why didn't he have people escorting him?”