Israel/Palestine/UK

Israel rejects Dubai's call for Mossad chief arrest

Meir Dagan, head of Israel's spy agency Mossad
Meir Dagan, head of Israel's spy agency Mossad Reuters

Israel on Friday rejected calls for the possible arrest of Mossad head Meir Dagan. Dubai police have said they are 99 per cent certain that Mossad is responsible for the killing of a Hamas leader and that they want Dagan arrested if Mossad's role is confirmed. But Israel says that Dubai police have "provided no incriminating proof". 

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The deceased Hamas leader, Mahmuh al-Mabhuh, was found dead in a Dubai hotel room last month. He was one of the founders of Hamas's military wing.

Interpol has issued arrest warrants for 11 people who are accused of killing the Hamas commander, using forged versions of real British, Irish, French and German passports.

The British Foreign Office has rejected claims in the Daily Mail paper that London had been informed ahead of the killing.

Israel's Ambassador to Ireland, Zion Evrony, was called to a meeting at the Irish Foreign Affairs Ministry on Thursday. Discussions were described as "direct and frank" and the Israeli authorities were asked to provide information and assistance, concerning the allegations of forged passports.

Israel's ambassadors in London and Paris were also called in by the two countries' diplomats and Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman will meet European counterparts in Brussels on Monday.

The Irish Times says that the Irish ambassador to Abu Dhabi, Ciarán Madden, has been informed by Emirati officials that there were five Irish passports used in all, rather than three as originally thought.

There were also six British passports, three French and one German passport used, according to the Dubai police.

Correspondent Peretz Kidron in Jerusalem says that reaction in Israel to the death of Mahmuh al-Mabhuh was initially positive. "This was a re-run of Entebbe and the Six-Day war and the other glorious achievements of the Israeli military and intelligence services," he says.

"But after a couple of days, when the international furore took off, people here are beginning to have second thoughts and they're asking why did nobody think of the fallout, the consequences, the diplomatic troubles that Israel's having with a whole series of friendly countries, and asking whether the whole operation was really justified".

Kidron says that comparisons are being made with the assassination of Khaled Meshal in Jordan in 1997, "it seriously prejudiced Israel's relationship with the Jordanians and it turned out subsequently that when the operation was planned, nobody spared a thought for the possibility that this could have harmful effects".

Israel's Haaretz newspaper has also drawn a parallel between the two cases this week, with one columnist calling for "a decision to terminate Dagan's contract and to appoint a new Mossad chief".

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