Canberra joins the Dubai hunt for Israeli clues

At least publicly, Australia is moving forward with its investigation into Israel’s alleged criminality in Dubai:

Australian authorities are working in an international team to track down the killers of a top Hamas militant who are suspected of being Israeli agents.

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed Australian officials were ”co-operating” with the investigation being run by Dubai authorities, although he declined to discuss what that involved.

The Australian Federal Police also declined to comment.

But Dubai’s police chief Dhahi Khalfan was reported in the government-owned Al-Bayan daily as saying Australia would be part of an international police unit along with officers from at least seven other countries. The unit would seek to track down those responsible for the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, whose body was found in a Dubai hotel room on January 20.

The newspaper quoted Mr Khalfan as saying that officers from the United Arab Emirates, unspecified European countries, Australia and possibly the United States would be part of the team. The team is also believed to include authorities from Britain, Ireland, France and Germany.

Israel has come under mounting international pressure after Dubai police published details of 26 suspects and said that 12 British, six Irish, four French, one German and three Australian passports were used to help carry out the assassination.

The international police organisation Interpol has circulated warrants for the arrest of 11 suspects. Dubai later said it had 15 other suspects.

Revelations of stolen identities being used by suspected Israeli agents has caused an international outcry, with Australia threatening it would ”not be silent on the matter” and Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin saying ”we are very angry”.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith last week called in the Israeli ambassador for a explanation. Yesterday, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the government was still ”not satisfied with that explanation”.

Israel has said there is no evidence that its spy agency, the Mossad, was behind the killing.

Meanwhile, police in Dubai say they have DNA evidence to prove the identity of at least one of the assassins involved.

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