Text size

Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who was killed last month in a Dubai hotel, faced two previous assassination attempts in recent years, Hamas officials said, according to a report Sunday on Channel 2 news.

Mabhouh was poisoned last year and, previously, was the target of a shooting in Lebanon, Abu Dhabi-based newspaper the National reported on Friday.

Mabhouh was found dead in his Dubai hotel room on January 20 in what police say they are almost certain was a hit by Israel's Mossad spy agency.

The National report said Mabhouh was half-conscious when he was admitted to hospital last May and was treated for dizziness, but had no fever. X-rays showed Mabhouh had a lung infection and was treated with antibiotics. He was released on May 10.

"We always lived with the possibility that Mabhouh could be killed at any time due to the sensitivity of his job," Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official in Lebanon and a relative of Mabhouh, told the National.

Meanwhile, Dubai police on Sunday said Mabhouh's killers drugged him before suffocating him.

The killers used a muscle relaxant to tranquillize Mabhouh before suffocating him, said deputy police chief Khamis al-Mazeina, quoted by the Dubai police website.

"The assassins used this method so that it would seem that his death was natural as there were no signs of resistance shown by the victim," he said.

Dubai authorities have named 26 alleged members of the team that tracked and killed the Palestinian and said they operated in disguise and used fraudulent British, Irish, French, German and Australian passports.

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.

Israel has not denied or confirmed it played any role but Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said there was nothing to link Israel to the killing.

On Saturday, Dubai's chief of police called on Mossad director Meir Dagan to "be a man" and admit that Israel's espionage agency was behind the January 20 assassination.