Dubai hit is an act of state terrorism by Israel
Last update - 23:47 23/02/2010
By Haaretz Service
Iran and the Gulf Cooperation Council on Tuesday denounced the death of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, calling it an act of terror, French news agency AFP reported.
Iran joined Hamas and Dubai police in blaming Israel for the killing. Dubai authorities have said they were nearly certain Israel's intelligence agency, Mossad, was behind the death of Hamas chief Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room on January 20.
"The Dubai assassination is an act of state terrorism on the part of Israel," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying in a report by state-run Press TV.
"Israel's existence is itself based on terrorist activities," he said.
The French news agency also reported that GCC Secretary General Abdel Rahim al-Attiya urged European Union countries to cooperate with the UAE investigation "to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice and prevent the repeat of such a terrorist act."
Attiya, however, avoided blaming Israel for the militant's death, instead describing it as the work of an "organized criminal group."
Meanwhile, Channel 10 news reported that Syrian authorities have arrested an associate of Mabhouh over suspected involvement in his killing.
An Arab diplomatic source said that Dubai police asked Syria to detain Mohammed Nasser and other Hamas men for questioning. According to media reports, Nasser was in Dubai in the days before Mabhouh's killing and was intimately familiar with his schedule and whereabouts.
Nasser also reportedly took part in the abduction and murder of two Israeli soldiers during the first intifada.
Earlier Tuesday, the United Arab Emirates identified four more European passport-holders suspected in the Dubai killing of the Hamas commander last month, a source in the UAE familiar with the investigation said Tuesday.
"The UAE has identified two British suspects holding British travel documents, and as part of the ongoing investigation has shared the information with the British government," the source said.
Two more suspects holding Irish passports were also identified, the source added.
The new claim reportedly brings the tally of fraudulent British passports used to eight, and Irish identities used to five.
The six previously announced British identities used by the killers were all traced to British citizens living in Israel, who say their identities were stolen.
Dubai authorities had already released the identities of 11 people who traveled on forged British, Irish, French and German passports to kill Mabhouh.
European Union foreign ministers protested Monday against the use of forged European passports in the killing, but stopped well short of blaming Israel for the undercover action.
"The EU strongly condemns the fact that those involved in this action have used fraudulent EU member states' passports and credit cards acquired through the theft of EU citizens' identities," the bloc's ministers said in a statement.
The bloc's statement was approved as Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was visiting the EU capital of Brussels. He met his British and Irish counterparts, David Miliband and Micheal Martin, and dined with the EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton.
Lieberman told his Irish counterpart that the Arabs nations blame Israel for anything that happens in the Middle East. He added that there are many other power struggles in the region which could have resulted in the operation.
"The Arabs have a tendency to blame Israel for anything that happens in the Middle East," he said, adding that the region "has many internal struggles within groups and states which are not as democratic as Israel is."
Asked whether she would question Lieberman over the Mossad's alleged involvement in the killing, Ashton said she would "raise a number of things, including that."
But she stressed that until the matter is cleared up by investigators, the EU would not jump to conclusions.
"We can't move from a position where some press reports say that something has happened to a position saying: therefore we have to take action," Ashton said.
She did acknowledge, however, that the member states concerned, which have launched investigations of their own, "have been extremely angry about what has happened."
Miliband said his Israeli counterpart told him he "had no information at this stage."
"It is very important that people know that we continue to take this issue very seriously indeed," Miliband said after talks with Lieberman.
Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday reiterated his condemnation of the assassination and insisted "nothing positive" comes of such killings. He added that France cannot accept such "executions."