UK police meet passport victims
Investigators arrive in Israel as Dubai authorities find DNA at murder scene
By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
February 27, 2010
Investigators from Britain’s Serious Organised Crimes Agency (Soca) have arrived in Israel to start interviews with dual nationals whose names were used on fraudulent passports used by the assassins of a Hamas commander last month.
Soca confirmed yesterday that arrangements were already being made to speak to the six British-Israeli dual nationals whose names appeared on the 11 passports originally revealed by Dubai police last week to have been used by members of the hit squad. Meanwhile, police in Dubai said that they had moved a step closer to identifying the murder suspects by finding DNA and fingerprints at the scene of the crime.
The planned interviews are part of the investigation into the use of the falsified passports ordered by Gordon Brown after the revelation of their use in the operation to kill Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in his Dubai hotel room.
Dubai’s police chief, Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, has said he is “99 per cent sure” that Israel’s foreign intelligence agency Mossad was responsible for the assassination. And yesterday he told the Al-Arabiya news network that new evidence had emerged in the hotel where Mr Mabhouh died. “We’ve (identified) traces of DNA on the scene, belonging to the criminals,” he said. “We have fingerprints and DNA traces.”
Israel, whose ambassador in London Ron Prosor was called into the Foreign Office after the original disclosures, has refused to confirm or deny any involvement.
Soca said yesterday it was “arranging to speak to six passport holders as possible witnesses to a crime”. It said interviews would take place in the British Embassy in Tel Aviv and added: “The Israeli authorities have been informed.” A spokesman for the British Embassy said an investigator from the British agency had arrived in Israel but indicated that interviews had not yet begun.
Soca enquiries are likely to include interviews with another six British passport holders whose names were among those used by a further 15 suspects in the assassination revealed by Dubai police this week. The agency said it was “working closely with the Emirates”. This week’s announcement brought to 26 the total of suspects being sought by the Dubai authorities for the killing.
Lt Gen Tamin was also quoted as saying that he expected details of the 15 new passports identified in the case to be circulated by Interpol as the 11 others already have been. He told the United Arab Emirates-based newspaper al-Bayan that he was working with European countries, Australia and the US through diplomatic channels to establish an international detection team “from at least seven countries”. He added: “Friendly nations who have been assisting in this investigation have indicated to the police in Dubai that the passports were issued in an illegal and fraudulent manner.”
‘Irish’ assassin became a killer blonde in Dubai hit
By Shane Phelan
Friday February 26 2010
ONE of the six ‘Irish’ suspects in the assassination of a Hamas commander in Dubai changed her hair colour while on the mission, new video footage reveals.
The suspect, who used the name Ivy Brinton and had a false Irish passport, can be seen sporting both dark and blonde hair in the footage released by authorities in the United Arab Emirates yesterday.
The footage, from the hotel where Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was killed last month, reveals how the suspect either dyed her hair or wore a wig in an effort to conceal her identity — going blonde halfway through the mission.
It shows her accompanied by another suspect, who used the name Chester Halvey and also travelled on a forged Irish passport.
A third suspect who used a false Irish passport was also shown on footage released yesterday. The woman, using the name Anna Shauna Clasby, was filmed leaving the hotel, the Jumeirah Emirates Towers, on the day of the killing.
The release of the footage and other information by the Dubai authorities has cranked up international pressure on Israel over the assassination.
Dubai’s police chief Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim says he believes the Israeli secret service Mossad was responsible. Israel has refused to confirm or deny involvement.
Speaking on a visit to Gaza yesterday, Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin said: “We are very angry at the fraudulent use of information that was stolen from valid Irish passports to make forged passports.
“These people were not Irish citizens. Whoever did this forged the passports. We’re angry about that because it violates the integrity of our passport system and also places at risk the security of our citizens.”
Forged British, French, German and Australian passports were also used by the suspects.
Australia yesterday summoned its Israeli ambassador to a meeting to explain the affair.
The operation to kill Mr al-Mabhouh came just five years after an Israeli diplomat was expelled from Australia after a Mossad operation to fraudulently obtain Australian and New Zealand passports was uncovered.
Although a garda investigation has been launched into the use of Irish passport information, senior gardai said last night there were no plans to send an officer to Dubai. But gardai are liaising with Interpol and police forces in the other countries affected.
At the time of his murder, Mr al-Mabhouh was wanted by the Israeli, Egyptian and Jordanian governments. He died after being electrocuted with a stun gun and smothered to death with a pillow.
Dubai police believe he was followed to his hotel room by members of the assassination squad wearing fake beards, wigs and other disguises.
Authorities did not know he had been murdered until after a post-mortem examination. Source
Has photos of the 26 suspects in link below as well as other information.