One of the passports used by the hit squad that killed senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai was not forged, German weekly Der Spiegel reported Saturday.
According to the report, the German passport belonging to one of the suspected hit squad members was genuine, prompting German authorities to launch an investigation.
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The said passport, according the report, was issued in the name of Michael Bodenheimer last summer. Der Spiegel said he had filed a request for a German passport at the German embassy in Tel Aviv at the end of 2008, claiming his grandparents were natives of Cologne.
Suspected hit squad members. Bodenheimer circled (Photo: AFP)
Bodenheimer, who immigrated to Israel from the US more than 20 years ago, studies at a kollel, a yeshiva for married men. His family told Ynet that he had nothing to do with the Dubai operation.
Mina Bodenheimer, his wife, said, "We've lived in Bnei Brak for 30 years and we've never been in Germany. We don't anything apart from what was reported in the press. We have not been approached by any Israeli or European body, including Interpol."
Israel's Mossad spy agency has been blamed for the killing. Dubai police have identified 11 suspects who apparently traveled to Dubai on European passports. The list included six people with British passports, three with Irish passports, and one each from France and Germany.
Two Palestinians are being held in Dubai on suspicion they helped the assassins.
The use of European passports in the al-Mabhouh assassination sparked a row between Israel and a number of European Union countries. Israel's ambassadors to London, Dublin, Berlin and Paris were all asked to provide explanations regarding Mossad's alleged involvement in the hit.
However, officials in Jerusalem have estimated that the criticism against Israel will subside due to the fact that western countries support the war on terror.
Earlier Saturday, Hamas legislator Salah Bardawil said al-Mabhouh put himself at risk by booking his trip through the Internet and informing his Gaza family by telephone at which hotel he would be staying.
Ali Waked and news agencies contributed to the report