Dubai police on manhunt for assassins
Senior official says local police have identified men who killed top Hamas member Mahmoud al-Bahbouh, but adds suspects believed to have already left emirate. Security sources say body had traces of burns, torture from electric shock. Hamas official in Damascus explains delay in death announcement aimed at catching Mossad agents
A senior Dubai police official said Friday that local police have managed to identify the men suspected of assassinating senior Hamas member Mahmoud al-Mabhouh and are conducting a manhunt for the suspects, who he said have European passports.
The official noted, however, that the same suspects have already left the emirate with fake passports. He added that Dubai was coordinating the manhunt with the Interpol in order to arrest the suspects.
Izzat Rashaq, a top member of Hamas exiled leadership in Damascus, was asked earlier why his organization had waited nine days to issue a formal announcement of al-Mabhouh's death. He had an interesting explanation.
In a conversation with the Associated Press he said that details have not been released to avoid compromising an ongoing investigation, and that Hamas' delayed announcement was linked to an attempt to "reach the Israeli agents who implemented this operation."
According to security elements in the United Arab Emirates al-Mabhouh was found dead in a hotel three days after arriving in Dubai. The Dubai police chief told al-Arabiya that the Hamas official had arrived in the country under an alias and added that they would have provided him with protection had they known of his presence.
The local security elements learned of his identity only after his death and noted that his body had traces of burns and torture from electric shocks. The same sources told the Khaleej Times newspaper that al-Mabhouh was apparently suffocated to death by a pillow.
Al-Mabhouh's family members in their Gaza home (Photo: AFP)
It was further stated by security forces that four vailed men entered his room several days prior to al-Mabhouh's death. The Hamas man's brother Faiq al-Mabhouh said that according to Hamas' joint investigation with the UAE, two people committed the murder.
Talal Nassar, an official in Hamas' media office in Damascus, said al-Mabhouh had been "poisoned and electrocuted in his hotel room in Dubai." He did not elaborate.
Al-Mabhouh was buried on Friday at the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, near Damascus. More than 2,000 Palestinians attended the funeral, many carrying Palestinian flags and portraits of Hamas leaders.
Al-Mabhouh's coffin was wrapped in a green Hamas flag and a large portrait of him was placed at the entrance to the mosque with the words: "Your fingerprints are everywhere ... we promise to continue in your path."
Ali Waked and The Associated Press contributed to this report