Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim displaying pictures of the 11 wanted suspects for the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud Al Mabhouh in this file picture. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai Within less than 24 hours a team of more than 11 individuals entered the country, executed a senior Hamas leader in 20 minutes and later left to various European countries.

In pictures: Details of prime suspects

Although Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Chief of Dubai Police, doesn't rule out the involvement of Israeli spy agency Mossad, he stated that he believes many parties were involved in the operation.

The professional team arrived at the airport at various intervals and stayed in several hotels in the city. During the execution around seven individuals are believed to have been in Mahmoud Al Mabhouh's room.

They paid for all expenses in cash and used different mobile phone cards to avoid being traced, he added. Their communication tools were highly sophisticated and coded.

Lieutenant General Dahi said there was at least one unsuccessful attempt to break into Al Mabhouh's hotel room. It was unclear whether he opened the door for his killers or if the room was forcibly entered.

Closely monitored

Al Mabhouh, who arrived on January 19 at 3.20pm, was closely monitored. He stayed in his room for an hour before leaving to meet people who are believed to be Palestinians from Gaza. During his five hours around the city he bought a pair of shoes, said Lt Gen Dahi in response to the reason for his visit to Dubai.

He came back at 8.24pm and within 20 minutes Al Mabhouh was assassinated with the entire team leaving at separate times.

The last team of two people left at 8.52pm to mark the end and the success of their "coward operation," said Lt Gen Dahi. An earlier visit to Dubai by Al Mabhouh was in May 2009 for medical treatment. In fact initially his death was believed to be due to natural causes as he had his medical pills in the hotel room.

At least two suspected members of the hit squad watched Al Mabhouh check into his hotel and later booked a room across from the Hamas commander, Lieutenant General Dahi said.

He added that there was "serious penetration into Al Mabhouh's security prior to his arrival" in Dubai, but that it appeared Al Mabhouh was travelling alone.

"Hamas did not tell us who he was. He was walking around alone," said Lieutenant General Dahi. "If he was such an important leader, why didn't he have people escorting him?"

The chief of Dubai Police also criticised Hamas for taking pride in Al Mabhouh's operation in 1989 in abducting and killing two Israelis.

"It is not an honourable matter to kill captives. And I want everyone to know that no matter what the victim's religious or ethnic affiliation is, we will exert the same efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice," he said.

Lt Gen Dahi said that in the near future they will reveal details of the medical forensic report, which includes one final test about "one aspect that was not considered by any-one and which could be suprising," as well as details about the two Palestinians detained by Dubai Police.

The detained Palestinians are residents of Dubai, and one of them met Al Mabhouh at the airport.

List: Team of assassins

  • Peter Elvinger - France
  • Melvyn Adam Mildiner - Britain
  • Stephen Daniel Hodes - Britain
  • Michael Bodenheimer - Germany
  • Paul John Keeley - Britain
  • Kevin Daveron - Ireland
  • Gail Folliard - Ireland
  • Jonathan Louis Graham - Britain
  • Evan Dennings - Ireland
  • James Leonard Clarke - Britain
  • Michael Lawrence Barney - Britain