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Israel Mum Amid Accusations in Dubai Assassination

February 17, 2010 at 12:00 AM EST
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Tensions mount over the death of a Hamas official last month in Dubai. Israel remains tight-lipped over accusations that its intelligence service Mossad was involved in Mahmoud al-Mabhouh's assassination. Julian Manyon of ITN reports.

TRANSCRIPT

GWEN IFILL: A killing in Dubai that’s becoming an international incident.

We begin with Julian Manyon, reporting for Independent Television News from Israel.

JULIAN MANYON: Filmed by Israeli television, one of the men whose names were used by the assassins in Dubai. He’s British-born Paul John Keeley. And this is the man who used a false British passport in that name to slip through Dubai airport on his way to take part in the assassination of the Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

Speaking in Hebrew, Mr. Keeley said that the theft of his identity had left him feeling worried, insecure and angry.

Mr. Keeley normally lives in this small house in a kibbutz north of Tel Aviv, where he makes a living as a handyman. When I spoke to him on the telephone, he told me that he was stunned by the fact that his name had apparently been used by one of the assassins.

But what is clear is that the theft of his name and the others has created some sort of link between the murder in Dubai and the state of Israel.

In all, six members of the Dubai hit squad used fake British passports carrying the stolen names of people living in Israel. The fake passports were a key part of the complex plot, which involved disguises, like a wig and glasses, tailing the victim to his hotel room, and murder, possibly by electric shock.

But some in Israel fear that the carefully planned operation may yet cause diplomatic damage.

AMIR OREN, defense correspondent, Haaretz: Many years ago, the Israeli government had solemnly swore to the British government that it will never again make use of British passports. And, if the reports are true, apparently, it has broken such promise. And this is not the best of times to have another crisis in British-Israeli relations.

JULIAN MANYON: Faced with growing suspicions that the murder was in fact a Mossad operation, Israeli officials are insisting that no proof of that has emerged. But what is clear is that a kill that was supposed to be anonymous and surgical has left some tricky loose ends.

GWEN IFILL: Margaret Warner takes the story from there.