The Dubai murder of a Hamas leader is getting juicier by the day.
Palestinian defectors may well have been involved:
A key security operative of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas was under arrest in Syria tonight on suspicion of having helped an alleged Israeli hit squad identify Mahmoud al-Mabhouh before he was assassinated in Dubai, the Guardian has learned.
Palestinian sources in the Gulf confirmed Nahro Massoud, a Hamas security official, was in detention and under interrogation in Damascus in connection with the 19 January killing, which is now widely assumed to have been mounted by Israel‘s Mossad secret intelligence service.
Britain is allegedly furious (though I find this hard to believe). London has excused Israeli behaviour for decades:
Britain last night fired the first shot in a potentially explosive diplomatic row with Israel by calling in the country’s ambassador to explain the use of faked British passports by a hit squad who targeted a Hamas official in Dubai.
The Israeli ambassador has been summoned to the Foreign Office to “share information” about the assassins’ use of identities stolen from six British citizens living in Israel, as part of the meticulously orchestrated assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.
Britain has stopped short of accusing Israel of involvement, but to signal its displeasure, the Foreign Office ignored an Israeli plea to keep the summons secret. “Relations were in the freezer before this. They are in the deep freeze now,” an official told the Guardian.
The Independent is calling for a more vigorous British response to the alleged outrages committed by Israel.
Collusion. That’s what it’s all about. The United Arab Emirates suspect – only suspect, mark you – that Europe’s “security collaboration” with Israel has crossed a line into illegality, where British passports (and those of other other EU nations) can now be used to send Israeli agents into the Gulf to kill Israel’s enemies. At 3.49pm yesterday afternoon (Beirut time, 1.49pm in London), my Lebanese phone rang. It was a source – impeccable, I know him, he spoke with the authority I know he has in Abu Dhabi – to say that “the British passports are real. They are hologram pictures with the biometric stamp. They are not forged or fake. The names were really there. If you can fake a hologram or biometric stamp, what does this mean?”
The voice – I know the man and his origins well – wants to talk. “There are 18 people involved in the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Besides the 11 already named, there are two Palestinians who are being interrogated and five others, including a woman. She was part of the team that staked out the hotel lobby.” Two hours later, an SMS arrives on my Beirut phone from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. It is the same source.
“ONE MORE THING,” it says in capital letters, then continues in lower case. “The command room of the operation was in Austria (sic, in fact, all things are “sic” in this report)… meaning the suspects when here did not talk to each other but thru the command room on separate lines to avoid detection or linking themselves to one another… but it was detected and identified OK??” OK? I ask myself.