Israeli PM authorised Mossad to kill Hamas leader: Report

Last Updated: Sunday, February 21, 2010 - 19:34

Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu authorised Mossad, the country`s spy
agency, to kill senior Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mahbouh in
Dubai, a media report claimed on Sunday.

Based on information obtained from "sources with
knowledge of Mossad," London-based Sunday Times reported that
Netanyahu gave green light for the `Dubai operation` to Mossad
chief Meir Dagan during a meeting at the Midrasha, the
intelligence agency`s headquarters, in early January.

Times said when Netanyahu was briefed about the
operation some members of a hit squad were also present in the
room.

"As the man who gives final authorisation for such
operations, Netanyahu was briefed on plans to kill Mahmoud
al-Mabhouh, a member of Hamas, the militant Islamic group that
controls Gaza," the newspaper reported.

It said Mossad had received intelligence that Mabhouh
was planning a trip to Dubai and they were preparing an
operation to assassinate him there, off-guard in a luxury
hotel.

"The mission was not regarded as unduly complicated or
risky, and Netanyahu gave his authorisation, in effect signing
Mabhouh`s death warrant.

"The team had already rehearsed, using a hotel in Tel
Aviv as a training ground without alerting its owners," the
report said.

"Typically on such occasions, the Prime Minister
intones: `The people of Israel trust you. Good luck.`," the
Times reported.

Mabhouh was assassinated in a Dubai hotel on January
20 and Dubai police had suspected the involvement of Mossad in
the killing.

Another British daily, The Daily Mail, said Netanyahu
personally congratulated members of the Mossad team that
allegedly killed Mabhouh ahead of their departure to Dubai.

The Mail reported that Mossad assessed the mission as
not unusually risky or complicated.

"The operative teams were very much aware of the CCTV
in Dubai, but they have been astonished at the ability of the
Dubai police to reconstruct and assemble all the images into
one account," an unnamed Israeli source was quoted by the
paper as saying.

Israel`s Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon,
yesterday said that he does not expect relations between
Israel and European countries whose passports were used in the
assassination to deteriorate as a result of the incident.

"I do not expect a crisis in relations because there
is nothing linking Israel to the assassination. Britain,
France and Germany are countries with shared interests with
Israel in countering terrorism," Ayalon said, naming three of
the four countries whose passports were used.

At least three of the suspects are said to have used
Irish passports.

Israel has maintained the policy of neither confirming
nor denying responsibility for such operations whenever the
international media has pointed fingers at Mossad to have
carried out such hits.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, February 21, 2010 - 19:34

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