JERUSALEM (JTA) — Six of the 11 people named by Dubai officials as being part of an assassination team that killed a Hamas terrorist have the same names as British-Israeli citizens.
The passport pictures released by Dubai police do not match the faces of the Israeli residents with the same names, according to reports. Another of those named as being on the hit squad is a German-Israeli woman.
Some of the named Israelis told Israeli media outlets that they have not left the country in years, nor were their passports lost or stolen.
The passports used to enter Dubai — from France, Ireland, Britain and Germany — were forged, according to reports. Britain also has launched an investigation into the use of the names of valid British passport holders in the forgeries. Arrest warrants were issued Tuesday for the 11 passport holders.
"I am in complete shock and I don’t understand what is going on," Steven Daniel Hodes told the Jerusalem Post. "I don’t know how they got to me. That’s not my picture, of course. I haven’t left the country in two years, and I certainly have not been in Dubai. I don’t know who is behind this. I’m scared.”
Hamas blames Israel’s Mossad for last month’s assassination of top Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a hotel room in Dubai.
Al-Mabhouh was the official responsible for arranging arms supplies from Iran to Gaza, and was a founder of the Hamas military wing, Izzadin Kassam. He also was involved in the 1989 kidnappings and murders of two Israeli soldiers, Avi Sasportas and Ilan Sa’adon.
Hamas leaders claimed that an alleged Israeli assassination team entered Dubai using forged passports as part of the entourage of Israeli Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau, who visited the United Arab Emirates for a regional conference.