Women behind enemy lines: Ivy Brinton whose hair turned blonde during the operation; the mysterious Anna Clasby who wore a wide-brimmed hat and disappeared from the hotel a few hours before the assassination; Gail Folliard whose hair looked like a wig right from the start – are these the real heroes of the Dubai operation to assassinate senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Mabhouh?
The pictures of the six women who appear on Dubai police's list of assassins stand out particularly in light of the masculine image of espionage. They are all young – between 24 and 31, according to the passports they carried – and pretty. Their travels, according to the Dubai investigation, took them around the world: Germany, Switzerland, Hong Kong, France, even Iran.
Security footage adds fascinating details about these women's methods. All are seen in the company of other team members, apart from Anna Clasby who carried an Irish passport, and was the only one who visited Dubai twice.
On the first occasion, she arrived from Zurich in November 2009 for one day only. On the second visit, she stayed for less than 24 hours and left before the killing. She completed her mission for reasons that are still unclear and left quickly, the Dubai investigators said.
Gail Folliard is described by some reports as the "deputy commander" of the assassination team, and is seen waiting outside Room 230 as Mabhouh is being killed inside.
Ivy Brinton, who also carried an Irish passport, changed her appearance drastically during her short stay in Dubai, from brunette to blonde. Dubai police say that the secret agents caught on camera are Mossad agents.
Agent LivniMany women have served in the ranks of Israel's espionage agency, though few advanced to senior positions. The highest position was reached by Aliza Magen-Halevi, who served as Mossad's deputy director.
A famous graduate of the Mossad's Keshet course is none other than current Kadima Chairwoman, Tzipi Livni, who passed with flying colors. Livni refused to sign an obligation to avoid pregnancy for five years and was therefore not permitted to continue in the branch, but many others signed and stayed on. Later, this contract term was cancelled, enabling many more women to sign up freely.
Rumors that women are used by the Mossad mostly as bait are greatly exaggerated, though this has happened. The most famous case is that of "Cindy," known in the world's media as "Sheryl Ben Tov," a member of the Caesaria unit sent to seduce nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu. He paid for his deeds with 18 years behind bars.
Smadar Peri contributed to this report