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Monday March 1, 2010 2:48 PM (EST+7)
Dubai says hit team had 27th member, slams 'insult'

Read more: Mahmoud Mabhouh, assassination, Dubai, Hamas

DUBAI, March 1 (Reuters) - Israel's intelligence agency Mossad has insulted Dubai and countries whose forged passports were used by its agents in the assassination of a Hamas military commander last month, Dubai's police chief said on Monday.

Police chief Dahi Khalfan also said a 27th member of team that killed Mahmoud al-Mabhouh last month in his hotel room had been identified, saying only that she was a woman.

Dubai authorities have named 26 alleged members of the team that tracked and killed the Palestinian -- whose passport photos and images caught on surveillance cameras have traveled around the world -- and said they used fraudulent British, Irish, French, German and Australian passports.

Mossad shouldn't come to us. We haven't done anything to Israel. This is an insult to us, to Britain, to Australia, to Germany and to New Zealand and it's shameful, Khalfan told reporters in Dubai, a member of the United Arab Emirates.

Israel has not confirmed or denied it played any role but its foreign minister said there was nothing to link it to the killing. Hamas says Mabhouh played a role in smuggling weapons from Iran into the Gaza Strip, which Hamas runs.

The UAE, an Arab state that backs Palestinians seeking an independent state and end to Israeli occupation, has no diplomatic relations with Israel.

But it has established low-level political and trade links in recent years, with some Israeli officials attending events in the Gulf Arab state. Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer competed in the Dubai Championships last month.

Khalfan said dual passport holders with Israeli nationality would face extra security procedures in future and predicted the alleged hit team would have problems travelling outside Israel.

In the future, those we suspect of carrying dual nationality (including Israeli) will be treated very carefully, he said. If Israel and Mossad mistreated Europeans, we will not... Our treatment of Europeans will not be affected.

People with the same names as many of the suspects live in Israel and say their identities were stolen. The passport abuse has drawn criticism from the European Union, and some of the governments involved have summoned the Israeli ambassadors to their countries to protest.

Dubai police said on Sunday the killers drugged Mabhouh with a muscle relaxant before suffocating him.

(Reporting by Warda Al-Jawahir; Writing by Andrew Hammond, editing by Paul Taylor)






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