Meir Dagan, former head of Israel's spy agency Mossad, attends parliament committee meeting in Jerusalem, in this file photo taken December 18, 2006. Image Credit: REUTERS

Dubai: Former Israeli spy chief Meir Dagan has died at age 71.

Dagan, who directed the Mossad from 2002 to 2011, was wanted in UAE for his alleged role in the Dubai assassination of Hamas commander Mahmoud Al Mabhouh in January 2010.

Former Dubai Police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim had said in 2010 that he planned to ask the Dubai prosecutor to issue arrest warrants for ... [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and the head of Mossad”. Tamim, who at the time said that he was “99 per cent sure” that the Mossad had carried out the assassination, had also called on Interpol to arrest Dagan.

On January 19, 2010, the Palestinian commander of the Islamist Hamas group Mahmoud Al Mabhouh was found dead in his room at the Al Bustan Rotana hotel in Dubai. Investigations later revealed that his death was caused by a sophisticated plot by a team of 26 suspects, believed to be Israelis who arrived in Dubai on forged Western passports. The incident caused a diplomatic crisis between Israelis and a number of its Western allies whose passports were forged. The Israeli regime denied that it was involved.

Israel had shrugged off calls for Dagan’s arrest, saying the Dubai Police chief had provided no incriminating proof, according to media reports.

An unnamed Israeli official had denounced the Interpol red notice “threat” as “absurd”.

“The accusations are baseless,” the official told AFP news agency. “Police have not explained the circumstances of [Mabhouh’s] death, or even any proof that he’s been assassinated. All there is are videos of people talking on the telephone,” he said.

Former Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim had claimed that he was forced to leave the agency after Mossad’s role in the assassination was uncovered by Dubai Police. Israeli media, too, speculated that Dagan had been forced to resign for that reason.

Under his leadership, the Mossad reportedly carried out covert attacks against Iranian nuclear scientists and unleashed cyber-attacks, including the Stuxnet virus that delayed the Iranian nuclear program.

After he stepped down, Dagan was also a fierce opponent of a military strike in Iran. He openly criticised Netanyahu’s opposition to the recently implemented nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

Dahi Khalfan reacted to his death by saying on Twitter that Dagan was finally brought to justice but suspected that “Palestinian intelligence” was behind his “killing”.

“Dagan, a fugitive of the justice of earth… was finally brought to the justice of God… to hell”. He added that “the rest of the gang [of assassins] is left”.