On January 20, the body of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior HAMAS figure and facilitator of arms smuggling between Iran and Gaza, was found dead in a hotel room in Dubai. Ha’aretz reported that there were burn markings from a stun gun under his ear, in his groin, and on his chest. And a bloody pillow was found, most likely used to suffocate him. There were no signs of forced entry into his hotel room and no evidence to suggest who did it. HAMAS blames Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, but other evidence suggests he could have been killed by another Arab intelligence organization.
The facts are that Mabhouh flew to Dubai from Damascus on January 19th, under a false name, and checked in at al-Bustan Rotana, also under a false name. He requested a room on the first floor, with no balconies and sealed windows. He was probably killed between 9:00 and 9:30 PM, after returning to his hotel from dinner. And Dubai’s police chief believes the killers used European passports.
Israel’s Mossad has a history of assassinating Palestinian political and military leaders. They are often successful, but rarely confess their guilt. A shocking and gripping example was the assassination of 8 members of Black September, the PLO terrorists who killed 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. That operation involved current Defense Minister Ehud Barak dressing as a woman to assassinate targets in Beirut.
But Israel has also had several devastating failures. After the Munich massacre, Mossad mistakenly killed Ahmed Bouchiki, an innocent Moroccan waiter, thinking he was part of Black September. Also, in 1997 a botched attempt to poison HAMAS senior figure, Khaled Meshaal, ended in a diplomatic row with Jordan’s King Hussein and the CIA intervening on behalf of Meshaal, to get an antidote.