Report: German passport tied to Dubai hit wasn`t forged
Hamas: Operative slain in Dubai put himself at risk; Deputy FM: No proof tying Israel to Mabhouh hit.
German intelligence services investigating the assassination of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai have found that one of the suspected members of the assassination team carried a genuine German passport, according to reports Saturday in German media outlets, including Der Speigel.
According to the findings of German federal investigators, in June 2009 an Israeli man named Michael Bodenheimer - who shares the name of an alleged member of the Dubai hit squad - came to immigration officials in Cologne with the pre-World War II address of his grandparents.
Bodenheimer acquired German citizenship on the basis of this data.
After his name was listed as one of the suspected members of the Dubai assassination squad, Bodenheimer, who lives in Bnei Brak and is of American origin, said that he did not know how his identity was stolen.
Dubai authorities have said 11 European-passport holders were involved in the assassination, and last week published their names and photographs. The list included six people with British passports, three with Irish passports and one each from France and Germany.
On Friday, Britain offered new passports to six British citizens, living in Israel, whose identities were used by the suspects, to protect them from inadvertent arrest by Interpol.
Bodenheimer, who immigrated to Israel from the United States more than 20 years ago, studies at a kollel, a yeshiva for married men. He said he was astounded to see the UAE list contained his name, supposedly belonging to a German citizen.
"At first we didn't understand what everyone was talking about," Bodenheimer's daughter said. "The picture that was published doesn't look like him at all. He busies himself with Torah study," she said, adding that he holds no citizenship other than Israeli and American.
Hamas: Slain commander put himself at risk
A Hamas legislator on Saturday said Hamas strongman Mahmoud al-Mabhouh put himself at risk by booking his trip through the Internet.
The Hamas legislator, Salah Bardawil, also told a news conference Saturday that Mabhouh took additional risk by informing his Gaza family by telephone at which hotel he would be staying.
Mabhouh's family on Saturday denied that he acted recklessly, according to Army Radio.
Dubai police and Hamas have blamed Israel's Mossad spy agency for the killing. However, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Saturday that there was no evidence tying Israel to the killing of Mabhouh at a luxury Dubai hotel on January 20.
"I don't forsee a crisis with European allies because there is nothing that ties Israel to the assassination," Ayalon said at an event in Rehovot.
"Britain, France and Germany all share our interests in the battle against global terror," Ayalon added. "Therefore, there will be no crisis. Instead our relations [with these countries] will continue to deepen," Ayalon added.
Report: Credit cards implicate Israel in hit
Also on Saturday, Arabic-language daily newspaper Al Bayan reported that Dubai police had new evidence implicating Israel's intelligence agency Mossad in the assassination of the Hamas commander, which included credit card payments and suspects' phone records.
"Dubai police have information confirming that the suspects purchased travel tickets from companies in other countries with credit cards carrying the same names we have publicized [in the passports]," Al Bayan quoted Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim as saying.
The newspaper did not provide further details.
Meanwhile, a Qatar news agency reported that Egyptian delegates promised Dubai officials that they would try to persuade Israel to officially apologize for the assassination of Mabhouh in their country.
Egyptian diplomats told Al-Arab newspaper that Dubai has asked Egypt to formally reprimand Israel for the hit.
Dubai police last week released photographs of 11 of the suspects. Interpol said on Thursday it had issued "red notices" for the suspects' arrest in any of its 188 member countries.