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Dubai Names 15 More Suspects in Hamas Murder

Phillip Walter Wellman | Dubai 24 February 2010

Dubai Police have announced at least 15 new names wanted for the assassination of former Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who was killed in the United Arab Emirates last month.

Officials say the new suspects entered the United Arab Emirates with British, Irish, French and Australian passports and provided "logistical support" in carrying out al-Mabhouh's murder.

The 10 men and five women bring the total number of people wanted in connection with the killing to 26, but police say that number could rise.

Al-Mabhouh was found dead in one of Dubai's luxury hotels on January 19. He had been a military commander for the Palestinian Hamas group and was considered a terrorist by Israel.

Last week, officials provided the names of 11 original suspects who traveled to the UAE with what turned out to be fake European passports. Authorities say many of the accused live in Israel, which has raised speculation of links to the nation's Mossad secret service.

Associate Fellow at the London-based Royal Institute for International Affairs, Rime Allaf, says there is no question that Israel was behind the assassination.

"Even if we do not catch them, we know who committed this crime and we know that they are hiding in Israel. There are people responsible for this, and sooner or later we hope that they will be shown for what they are," she said.

Israel has refused to confirm or deny any involvement in al-Mabhouh's death.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says there is no proof his county carried out the killing, but earlier this week opposition leader Tzipi Livni applauded the hit, saying it was good for people fighting terrorism.

The European Union has announced it will cooperate with Dubai in its investigation.

Despite the assistance, Allaf says it will still be difficult to apprehend and punish those responsible.

"Clearly they are going to be given new identities. They are going to lay low for a while, which is why I am a bit doubtful this particular murder will have the deserved consequences, which is bringing the criminals to justice," she said.

It is still unknown why al-Mabhouh was in Dubai. Media reports suggest he was carrying out a planned arms deal, but Hamas officials have refused to comment.

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