If the Mossad did send the 11-strong team that assassinated arch-terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel last month, it appears that in addition to training hit-men, it employs hairdressers, makeup artists and style experts.

Haaretz yesterday asked the chief makeup artist of the Israeli Opera at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center, Anat Yaron, to analyze the photographs of the alleged assassins that were published worldwide by the Dubai police.

"The person that outfitted them managed to create a number of characters, some more modern, some less, but all in all their work was not bad at all. They did not give them ridiculous accessories and the figures - as can be seen in the photos - do not look disguised. Only the glasses, in most cases, do not look very fashionable," Yaron says.

Yaron has been a leading makeup artist for 24 years. Thanks to her talent, skill and experience, she can disguise people so that their own mother would not recognize them.

With a wide variety of makeup tools, wigs and various hair accoutrements she can change facial lines, hide imperfections, give a bald person a fine shock of bouncy hair and make people beautiful where nature did not.

"In the case of these guys, it is clear that a great deal of makeup work was not done on them. Perhaps touches by a professional makeup artist can be seen to blur a scar or mole, but the main elements of the disguise were artificial hair, natural facial hair and glasses," she says.

At least eight of the alleged hit-men whose pictures were distributed by the Dubai police were wearing glasses. In some cases the glasses do not look natural because effort seems to have been invested in making some of the subjects look old-fashioned, while the glasses themselves appear quite fashionable.

According to Yaron, "When you look at the pictures together, you can see 'weak points,' but it should be taken into consideration that they went separately through passport control, so the border police did not have the whole picture of all eight together. In fact, an unprofessional eye could not identify that these people were disguised," Yaron says.

Yaron says it seems the assassins were instructed beforehand how to maintain their costumes, and that they were given essential tools, like strong adhesive to hold their wigs on. In most cases, she says, it appears that their handlers preferred for them to grow their own beards and mustaches, to avoid a false one falling off during the operation.

"Of course, today beards can be very well glued on, a person can be made to look bald or the opposite - given a wig tailor-made to fit his head. Since you can't send along a makeup artist to most clandestine operations in enemy countries, these people got the training they needed to maintain their own disguises."

Yaron says the wigs the people in the pictures were wearing were not of the best quality. "There are much more authentic wigs available today, sewn from real hair into special netting. There is also makeup that stays on for a long while and will not be damaged by the weather or activity."