Dubai murder suspects hiding in Israel: police
Police chief slams Israeli “insults”
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 Jan. 20. Police on Sunday said he had been drugged then suffocated.
"I say (the suspects) are in Israel. Israel says they are in Israel," police chief Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan told a news conference in the Emirati 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 southern 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 also said Israel's intelligence agency Mossad has insulted Dubai and countries whose forged passports were used by its agents in the assassination of Mabhouh.
"Mossad shouldn't come to us. We haven't done anything to Israel. This is an insult to us, to Britain, to Australia, to Germany and to New Zealand and it's shameful," Khalfan said.
Israel has not confirmed or denied it played any role but its foreign minister said there was nothing to link it to the killing. Hamas says Mabhouh played a role in smuggling weapons from Iran into the Gaza Strip, which Hamas runs.
The UAE, an Arab state that backs Palestinians seeking an independent state and end to Israeli occupation, has no diplomatic relations with Israel.
Mossad shouldn't come to us. We haven't done anything to Israel. This is an insult to us, to Britain, to Australia, to Germany and to New Zealand and it's shameful
Dubai Police Dahi Khalfan
But it has established low-level political and trade links in recent years, with some Israeli officials attending events in the Gulf Arab state. Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer competed in the Dubai Championships last month.
Khalfan said dual passport holders with Israeli nationality would face extra security procedures in future and predicted the alleged hit team would have problems travelling outside Israel.
"In the future, those we suspect of carrying dual nationality (including Israeli) will be treated very carefully," he said. "If Israel and Mossad mistreated Europeans, we will not... Our treatment of Europeans will not be affected."
People with the same names as many of the suspects live in Israel and say their identities were stolen. The passport abuse has drawn criticism from the European Union, and some of the governments involved have summoned the Israeli ambassadors to their countries to protest.
Dubai police said on Sunday the killers drugged Mabhouh with a muscle relaxant before suffocating him.
In the future, those we suspect of carrying dual nationality will be treated very carefully. If Israel and Mossad mistreated Europeans, we will not. Our treatment of Europeans will not be affected
Dubai Police Dahi Khalfan