Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Israel: Bringing Assassination Teams To A Neighborhood Near You

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Dubai's police chief said Monday an 11-member hit squad carrying European passports and disguised in wigs, fake beards and tennis clothes was behind the mysterious killing of a Hamas commander in his hotel room last month. Authorities also released photos of the 11.

Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim did not directly implicate Israel, as the Islamic militant group has. But the details he released at a news conference in the Gulf emirate are the most comprehensive accusations by Dubai authorities since the body of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was found Jan. 20 in his luxury hotel room near Dubai's international airport.

Tamim said it was possible that "leaders of certain countries gave orders to their intelligence agents to kill" al-Mabhouh, one of the founders of Hamas' military wing. But he did not name any countries.

Hamas has accused Israel and vowed revenge.

Tamim sketched out a highly organized operation in the hours before the killing, clearly done with advance knowledge of the victim's movements, and said the killers spent less than a day in the country. He said forensic tests indicated al-Mabhouh died of suffocation, but lab analyses were still under way to pinpoint other possible factors in his death.

He showed the news conference airport surveillance video of the alleged assassination team arriving on separate flights to Dubai the day before al-Mabhouh was found dead. The members of the alleged hit-squad checked into separate hotels.

In the surveillance footage, which also included images from the hotel, the one woman among the group of suspects appears to be wearing a wig and at times wears a big hat and sunglasses to blend in as a tourist. Others were also seen on the footage disguised as tourists, wearing tennis clothes and carrying rackets.

Authorities appear to have linked the group through the videos. They are seen entering and exiting the hotel, standing together or in pairs in the hotel lobby and going in and out the elevator on the floor where al-Mabhouh was staying. They appear individually, sometimes in pairs or in groups of three or four.

They paid for all expenses in cash and used different mobile phone cards to avoid traces, Tamim said.

The killing itself took just 10 minutes, he said. Several members of the hit squad followed the Hamas man — even riding with him in the same elevator to determine his room number — and then checked into the room across the hall. Four assassins among the group later entered his room in the Al-Bustan Rotana Hotel while he was out, using an electronic device to open the door. There they waited for him to return.

Source article is here.

P.S. Ya think there might be US teams like this? I wonder if Dick Cheney would know.

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