What would you do if one day you found out you're allegedly involved in a Mossad assassination? This is exactly what happened to Melvyn Adam Mildiner, 31, an Israeli-British citizen residing in Israel who now fears his life would never be the same again.
After having learned that some of his personal details appear on the passport of one of the suspects in the assassination of Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, Mildiner told Ynet Tuesday that he is worried he would have a problem leaving the country from now on.
On Monday the Dubai police exposed footage from the security cameras installed at the hotel where al-Mabhouh was killed last month, as well as the identity used by the 11 squad-members behind the hit.
Mildiner, a resident of Beit Shemesh, claimed Tuesday that one of the suspects used details from his own passport.
According to Mildiner, who made aliyah 10 years ago, he first discovered the news from media reports. "My identity was stolen or forged," he told Ynet and noted he knows nothing about the assassination.
"I watched the news, I know the story from there, but I don't know what's going on and why it happened, it's not me, I have nothing to do with it." Mildiner mentioned that his passport is in his home and has no Dubai stamp on it suggesting that the actual document was not stolen.
Photos of alleged assassins (Photo: AFP)
Referring to the "fake" passport Mildiner said, "The name appearing on the passport is mine and so is the number, but it's not my picture and the birth date is incorrect as well."
He sounded as though he was having trouble coming to terms with the sudden exposure and wished to clarify "I was never in the Mossad, nor did I visit Dubai." He also added that at the beginning he thought the picture on the suspect's passport slightly resembles his own, however his wife rejected the idea.
Mildliner stated that he plans to consult with a lawyer. "Everyone (from his family) is angry and afraid, especially at the prospect of having trouble leaving Israeli borders. I also don't know what are the other repercussions concerning my identity." He noted that he had not left the country for a while.
'We haven't been contacted by authorities'
Meanwhile it appears two other Israelis with a similar background to Mildiner's have found themselves in the same situation: Steven Daniel Hodes and Paul John Keeley.
Like Mildiner, Hodes, 37, who resides in Ramat Beit Shemesh, is mainly concerned with having his name connected to the affair.
Gabriella Hodes, Steven's wife, said that her husband learned of his "association" with the assassins by chance while surfing the Ynet website. "He was sitting by the computer and suddenly realized it's his name. At first he laughed and said that someone is dressing up like him for Purim but he later realized it was serious when he began receiving e-mails from friends. By then he wanted to talk to a lawyer."
Hodes, a physical therapist who made aliyah in 2000, discovered that it wasn't just his name that was supposedly used. "In time he realized that it was also his birth date. His parents are concerned, the family in England is concerned but no one from the authorities contacted us," Gabriella said.
"Steven began stressing out, he doesn't like publicity and now realizes that if he wants to travel he can't," she said. Like Mildiner he too hasn't left the country in a long while. "He hasn't traveled overseas for three years. The passport is in the closet and hasn't moved as far as we know."
According to Hodes' wife, the family has already been contacted by British press regarding the affair.
Meanwhile the family members are trying to understand how his personal details could have been stolen, if indeed they were, so easily. "Someone can take away your identity, it's frightening. How can someone do that when the passport is at home. These things happen in movies, not in real life."
As in Mildiner's case, "assassin Hodes'" photo does not show Steven Hodes. "The picture isn't identical, He doesn't look anything like him in my opinion," Gabriella said.
She also noted that they are not familiar with Mildiner's family but admitted it was a strange coincidence since both families live in neighboring towns. "We were shocked when a friend told us that someone else from Beit Shemesh was also involved in the story. It’s odd."
'I waiting for someone to talk to me'
Paul John Keeley, 43, from Kibbutz Nahsholim was also surprised to find his name alongside those of the suspected assassins, and he too learned of the matter from media reports. "The name is the same name and I too have British citizenship," Keeley told Ynet. "I'll check the other details but it's not the sort of information I'll be revealing, I want to protect my family's privacy."
According to Keeley, he has not been contacted by any official source regarding the affair. "I'm waiting for someone to talk to me. I'm afraid, it's scary when someone steals your identity especially for these sorts of purposes."
As in the cases of Mildiner and Hodes, Keeley's family is also distressed. "I haven't left the country since last year when I spent a few days in Turkey. I want answers. My wife is worried, the family is worried and I want to protect the family." He too noted that the photo in the fake passport was not of him.
Meanwhile, Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs said three alleged Irish citizens that Dubai authorities claim helped with the assassination do not exist.
The British Foreign Office said Tuesday it believes the British passports used by six of the 11 people who were involved in the assassination were faked. The office said in a statement that the British authorities have launched an investigation into the incident and have offered their assistance to the United Arab Emirate's commission of inquiry.
The Associated Press, Reuters and AFP contributed to this report