Europe scales back criticism of Israel over Dubai assassination

Tuesday, February 23, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff

The European Union on Monday backed away from its earlier position that Israel was responsible for the January 20 assassination of top Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, in which at least 11 hit squad members used fraudulent EU passports.

Mabhouh was killed shortly after arriving at his hotel in Dubai. Police there revealed security camera footage of the alleged assassins, and released the names on the suspects' passports. All of them were the names of Israeli Jews.

Several of the Israelis named later appeared on Israeli television confused and shocked, and clearly not the same people in the passport photos.

But that didn't stop European governments from summoning Israeli ambassadors to explain the Israeli connection to the killing. Israel feared that those suspicions would be spelled out in Monday's EU statement.

However, the statement did not mention Israel, and EU foreign ministers even toned down criticism of whoever killed Mabhouh by removing the term "extra-judicial killing."

Meanwhile, Dubai's police chief insists that he has evidence linking Israel's Mossad spy agency to the hit. But many Israelis still question why the Mossad would be so foolish as to use the names of living Israeli citizens as cover for its agents.

More likely is that another regional entity that wanted both to harm Hamas and cause trouble for Israel was behind the hit. The prime suspect in that line of thinking is the Palestinian Authority.

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