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Dubai To Issue Arrest Warrants For 11 Suspects Over Hamas Leader's Killing

Police authorities in Dubai said Monday that they were in the process of issuing arrest warrants for eleven European passport holders in connection with their suspected involvement in the killing of a Hamas leader last month.

Dubai police chief Dhafi Khalfan said at a news conference that the team that is believed to have carried out the murder of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh at his hotel room in Dubai was made up of 11 "agents with European passports."

He said that the suspected assassination team consisted of six holders of British passports, three Irish, one French and one German passport. Without identifying the suspects, Khalfan said that the team included a woman.

"We do not rule out the involvement of Mossad (the Israeli secret service) or other parties in the assassination, but when we arrest those suspects we will know who masterminded it," Khalfan said.

He added that a global manhunt for the 11 suspects, who he described as members of a professional hit-squad, would soon be initiated with the help of the international police organization, the Interpol.

"This is a list of all the wanted suspects. The list will be given to the press, newspaper and the Interpol ," Khalfan said, adding that two Palestinians suspected of providing logistical support to the assassination team have already been arrested.

Though Dubai police had found Mahmoud al-Mabhouh's body in a hotel room on 20th January, the information about his death was made public only days later when his corpse was returned to the Syrian capital city of Damascus, where he had lived in exile since leaving the Gaza Strip in 1989.

Al-Mabhouh was laid to rest at the Yarmouk refugee camp near the Syrian capital Damascus on 29th December, with thousands of people attending his funeral. Al-Mabhouh, who was originally from the Gaza Strip, was 50-years-old at the time of his death.

After the funeral, Hamas accused Mossad of carrying out the killing of al- Mabhouh, who was one of the founders of Hamas' military wing, the Ezz Al Deen Al Qassam Brigades. However, Israel has not responded to the allegation.

"Our brother had been a target for the occupier ever since his participation in the kidnapping operation against the two Zionist soldiers, and for his role and support for the resistance," Hamas said in a statement.

A key member of the Qassam brigade, the military wing of Hamas, Al-Mabhouh was arrested numerous times by Israeli forces earlier. Also his Gaza home was reduced to rubble in an Israeli operation.

It was alleged that Al-Mabhouh planned the 1989 capture and subsequent murder of two Israeli soldiers, Avi Sasportas and Ilan Saadon, during the Intifada (Arabic for uprising) of the eighties on the orders of the then supreme leader of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

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