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At least some Dubai photos of Hamas 'assassins' appear fake

Irish officials and Israeli citizens dispute the validity of passport information released by the emirate in the killing of alleged arms dealer Mahmoud Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room.

February 16, 2010|By Edmund Sanders

Reporting from Jerusalem — At least some of the passport photos and information released by Dubai this week on 11 suspects in the assassination of an alleged Hamas arms dealer appears to be false, Irish officials and several Israeli citizens said Tuesday.

The use of sophisticated fake IDs would match the professional manner in which the Jan. 20 slaying of Mahmoud Mabhouh was apparently carried out.

Melvyn Adam Mildiner, a British Israeli who moved to the Jerusalem area from London nine years ago, awoke Tuesday to find his name splashed across Israel's major newspapers alongside someone else's photograph in a mug-shot collage of the alleged hit squad.

"I went to bed with pneumonia and woke up a 'murderer,' " he mused to the Jerusalem Post.

Mildiner, who spent the day fielding phone calls from reporters, said he was worried about what sort of travel problems he now might encounter if Interpol has an arrest warrant in his name.

Israeli TV reported Tuesday night that the names of at least six other Israelis match those of suspects. Some said they, like Mildiner, had dual citizenship and that the passport photos released by Dubai were not of them.

Officials in Ireland, meanwhile, said three suspects identified as Irish passport holders -- Gail Folliard, Evan Dennings and Kevin Daveron -- do not appear as such in their records, and that the passport numbers publicized by Dubai were counterfeit.

"We are unable to identify any of those three individuals as being genuine Irish citizens. Ireland has issued no passports in those names," the Foreign Ministry told the Associated Press.

The suspects also used British, German and French passports, Dubai said.

Israeli officials continue to keep silent regarding suspicions that the country's Mossad spy agency organized the killing. Some analysts said the assassination had the hallmarks of a Mossad operation, while others wondered whether it was staged to look that way.

Mabhouh, who was born in the Gaza Strip but was living in Syria, allegedly was responsible for the capture of two Israeli soldiers. Israelis have said Mabhouh was involved in smuggling arms for Hamas. He had traveled to Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates, on a false passport, officials said.

Dubai Police Chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim said this week that the 11 suspects operated out of a hotel room across the hall from Mabhouh's. There have been conflicting reports over whether Mabhouh was suffocated, electrocuted, poisoned or strangled.


Times staff writer Borzou Daragahi in Beirut contributed to this report.

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