Ex-Mossad chief Dagan plays down Dubai flap

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Former Mossad director Meir Dagan played down the controversy around Israel’s alleged assassination of a Hamas commander in Dubai.

Dagan, a retired army general who stepped down as head of Israel’s foreign intelligence service in January after an eight-year tenure, gave a rare television interview Thursday.

Asked on Channel Two about the killing in early 2010 of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in his hotel room, and the furor that ensued when the UAE published passport photos and security camera footage of the alleged assassins, blaming the Mossad, Dagan was unperturbed.

In keeping with Israeli policy, he neither confirmed nor denied involvement in the incident. But Dagan asked the interviewer, "Have you heard of anyone who was arrested as a result of the publication of these images that were released in Dubai?" She said no, and Dagan shrugged.

The Dubai suspects used cloned passports from Britain, France, Ireland and Australia in the operation, prompting outcry in those countries against Israel.

"The basic demand of Mossad activity, that it be conducted in a state of zero foul-ups, in a reality where you operate with conditions changing all of the time, I think this is justified," he said, but added that "Everyone understands that it is not realistic."

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