DUBAI, (Reuters) – Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad has “insulted” Dubai and countries whose forged passports were used by its agents in the assassination of a Hamas military commander last month, Dubai’s police chief said on Monday.
Police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim also said a 27th member of the team that killed Mahmoud al-Mabhouh last month in his hotel room had been identified, saying only that it was a woman.
Separately, al Arabiya television quoted an unnamed UAE security source as saying two of the suspects had visited the United States after the killing.
One, a British passport holder, entered the United States on Feb. 14, while the other, who carried an Irish passport, had gone there on Jan. 21, two days after the killing, according to the report.
Dubai authorities had previously named 26 alleged members of the team that tracked and killed the Palestinian and said they used fraudulent British, Irish, French, German and Australian passports. Passport photos and surveillance camera images of the group’s members have been published widely around the world.
“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,” Tamim told reporters in Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates.
Israel has neither confirmed nor denied a role in the killing but its foreign minister said there was nothing to link it to the incident. Hamas says Mabhouh played a role in smuggling weapons from Iran into the Gaza Strip, which Hamas runs.
Dubai police have said the suspects boarded planes for destinations including Frankfurt, Paris, Rome, Zurich and Hong Kong following the killing.
The UAE, a U.S.-allied Arab state that backs the Palestinian drive for an independent state and an end to Israeli occupation, has no diplomatic relations with Israel.
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.
Tamim 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.
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.