Israel shrugs off calls for arrest of top spy

Israel on Friday shrugged off calls for its top spy to be arrested over the killing of a Hamas commander, as pressure mounted after Interpol issued arrest warrants for 11 suspects in the Dubai hit.

“The Dubai police have provided no incriminating proof,” a senior official told Agence France-Presse, asking not to be identified.

The Dubai police chief said on Thursday he wanted Mossad chief Meir Dagan to be arrested if the agency is behind last month’s killing of Mahmud al-Mabhuh, a top commander of the Islamist Hamas movement that rules Gaza.

“The threats against Meir Dagan are absurd,” the Israeli official said. “The accusations are baseless. Police have not explained the circumstances of his death, or even any proof that he’s been assassinated,” he said.

Mahmud al-Mabhuh, one of the founders of Hamas’s military wing, was found dead in his Dubai hotel room on January 20.


Police said Mabhuh, who was reportedly on a trip to buy arms for Hamas, was transiting on his way to China, then Sudan.

No government has directly accused Israel, although Dubai police chief Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim said he was near certain the hit was carried out by the Mossad, Israel’s fabled foreign espionage agency that has used fake passports in similar operations in the past.

Interpol on Thursday issued arrest notices for 11 suspects — six listed with British passports, three Irish, one French and one German — wanted by Dubai for the killing.

The killers’ use of allegedly fake passports prompted Britain, Ireland, France and Germany on Thursday to call in Israeli envoys for talks at their foreign ministries.

Tough questioning
The Israeli official played down the issue. “Israel was only asked to help investigate the use of the fake passports.”

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Thursday stressed the need for a “full investigation”, while Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin announced “frank” talks with Israel’s envoy — usually diplomatic code for angry exchanges.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman will face tough questioning on Monday when he meets European counterparts in Brussels, in a trip that was planned before the Dubai murder.

While some Israeli media have expressed concern the hit placed Israel in the eye of a diplomatic storm, the Haaretz newspaper quoted an official as predicting “the affair will quickly subside”.

And Israeli media also point out that despite the controversy over the hit, Western governments are not mourning Mabhuh.

“Whichever agency carried out the hit, with whatever cooperation from elsewhere, it achieved its critical goals — the target was eliminated and the squad made its escape,” the English-language Jerusalem Post said in an editorial.

The newspaper took aim at the “kerfuffle” in the British media over the affair, saying “this pig-headed refusal to acknowledge that sometimes the needs do justify the means reflect a moral impoverishment that’s not limited to Britain”. — AFP

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Trump pays in messiah money

The Trump coin, at least, echoes another element of the BIN story about the Pilgrim’s Road. It mentions some coins found during the excavations

UN probe accuses Israel of possible crimes against humanity

UN probe says there is evidence Israel committed crimes against humanity in responding to last year's protests in Gaza

Hamas threatens ‘gates of hell’ as Trump recognises Jerusalem as capital

Most of the international community doesn't formally recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, insisting the issue can only be resolved in negotiations

Africa’s solidarity is a major pillar in the Palestinian struggle

With renewed energy, the continent needs to assert its role in the fight against Israeli apartheid

Rival factions have reached a deal in Palestinian reconciliation

Rival Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, have reached an agreement on aspects of their bid to end a decade-long split

Togo deals blow to Israel’s Africa quest

The Africa-Israel summit in Lomé is postponed as citizens protest Tongo president's repressive rule.
Advertising

Subscribers only

Covid-19 surges in the Eastern Cape

With people queuing for services, no water, lax enforcement of mask rules and plenty of partying, the virus is flourishing once again, and a quarter of the growth is in the Eastern Cape

Ace prepares ANC branches for battle

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is ignoring party policy on corruption-charged officials and taking his battle to branch level, where his ‘slate capture’ strategy is expected to leave Ramaphosa on the ropes

More top stories

Journey through anxious Joburg

A new book has collected writing about the condition of living, yes, with a high crime rate, but also other, more pervasive existential urban stresses particular to the Global South

Football legend Maradona dies

The Argentinian icon died at his home on Wednesday, two weeks after having surgery on a blood clot in his brain

Why no vaccine at all is better than a botched...

As Covid vaccines near the manufacturing stage, a look at two polio vaccines provides valuable historical insights

Under cover of Covid, Uganda targets LGBTQ+ shelter

Pandemic rules were used to justify a violent raid on a homeless shelter in Uganda, but a group of victims is pursuing a criminal case against the perpetrators
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…