More E.U. Passports Tied to Dubai Hit

By Barak Ravid and Danna Harman (Haaretz)

Published February 23, 2010.
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The United Arab Emirates has identified four more European passport-holders suspected in the Dubai killing of a Hamas commander last month, a source in the UAE familiar with the investigation said Tuesday.

“The UAE has identified two British suspects holding British travel documents, and as part of the ongoing investigation has shared the information with the British government,” the source said.

Two more suspects holding Irish passports were also identified, the source added.

The new claim reportedly brings the tally of fraudulent British passports used to eight, and Irish identities used to five.

The six previously announced British identities used by the killers were all traced to British citizens living in Israel, who say their identities were stolen.

The Dubai authorities had already released the identities of 11 people who traveled on forged British, Irish, French and German passports to kill Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a hotel on January 20.

European Union foreign ministers protested Monday against the use of forged European passports in the killing, but stopped well short of blaming Israel for the undercover action.

“The EU strongly condemns the fact that those involved in this action have used fraudulent EU member states’ passports and credit cards acquired through the theft of EU citizens’ identities,” the bloc’s ministers said in a statement.

The bloc’s statement was approved as Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was visiting the EU capital of Brussels. He met his British and Irish counterparts, David Miliband and Micheal Martin, and dined with the EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton.

Lieberman told his Irish counterpart that the Arabs nations blame Israel for anything that happens in the Middle East. He added that there are many other power struggles in the region which could have resulted in the operation.

“The Arabs have a tendency to blame Israel for anything that happens in the Middle East,” he said, adding that the region “has many internal struggles within groups and states which are not as democratic as Israel is.”

Asked whether she would question Lieberman over the Mossad’s alleged involvement in the killing, Ashton said she would “raise a number of things, including that.”

But she stressed that until the matter is cleared up by investigators, the EU would not jump to conclusions.

“We can’t move from a position where some press reports say that something has happened to a position saying: therefore we have to take action,” Ashton said.

She did acknowledge, however, that the member states concerned, which have launched investigations of their own, “have been extremely angry about what has happened.”

Miliband said his Israeli counterpart told him he “had no information at this stage.”

“It is very important that people know that we continue to take this issue very seriously indeed,” Miliband said after talks with Lieberman.

Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday reiterated his condemnation of the assassination and insisted “nothing positive” comes of such killings. He added that France cannot accept such “executions.”






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