Talk about identity theft! Seven Israelis woke up Tuesday morning to learn that they had apparently taken part in last month's assassination of a top Hamas operative in Dubai.
Dubai police on Monday revealed photographs of the 11 suspected assassins who took out Mahmoud al-Mabhouh at a Dubai hotel. All 11 were clearly of Middle East descent, though all were carrying European passports.
The six carrying British passports and the one carrying a German passport all used names of Jews who had immigrated to Israel from those nations years earlier.
Three of the British-Israeli immigrants spoke to Israeli television to express their astonishment.
"I'm in shock and I don’t even understand what I’m seeing. It doesn’t even look like me," said Paul Keely to Channel Two News in reference to the picture of the hit squad member "Paul Keely" passed out by Dubai police.
Immigrant Steven Daniel Hodes added: "I am in complete shock and I don’t understand what is going on. 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."
Michael Lawrence Barney, a third immigrant, spoke to Channel One News, insisting, "This is a mistake or a case of identity theft, but it isn’t me. That’s for sure."
The use of the identities of average Israeli citizens by the assassins has lessened the likelihood that Israel's Mossad spy agency was involved, despite continued Arab insistence that Israel carried out the hit.
It has become increasingly probable that the assassins were from a country or organization that both wanted Mabhouh dead and wanted to smear Israel in the process. That leaves most Middle East governments, including Hamas' rivals in the Fatah-ruled Palestinian Authority.