Dubai names five more suspects in Hamas killing

Australia probes further passport link to Hamas hit


Dubai police named five new suspects in the killing of a senior Hamas militant at a luxury hotel in the Gulf emirate, bringing the total number to 32, Al-Arabiya TV reported on Friday.

Police said two of the new suspects in Mahmoud al-Mabhouh's assassination in January held French passports, another two travelled on British passports, and the other, a woman, had an Australian passport.

International police agency Interpol has already issued arrest notices for 27 suspects wanted by Dubai in connection with the killing of Mabhuh, a founder of the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, who was found dead in his Dubai hotel room on January 20.

The assassination has caused diplomatic tension over the alleged falsification of European and Australian passports by Israel's Mossad spy agency.

Australia said Friday it was investigating reports that a fifth Australian passport had been linked to the January killing of a Hamas chief in Dubai.

Four allegedly forged Australian passports have already been connected to the Cold War-style assassination Mabhouh, of which Israel's Mossad spy agency is suspected of involvement.

The foreign affairs department said it had received reports a fifth Australian document had been implicated in the hit at a luxury Dubai hotel.

"(The department) is aware of reports that officials in the UAE have identified five new suspects in connection with the Dubai murder of senior Hamas figure Mahmud al-Mabhuh," a spokeswoman told AFP.

"The reports state these suspects were carrying Australian, British and French passports. We are working to establish the accuracy of these reports."

If proven, the spokeswoman said the development would be of "gravest concern."

"The government condemns in the strongest possible terms the abuse of Australian passports," she said, adding that Australian authorities were in "close contact" with investigating officials in Dubai.