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Relatives of a slain Hamas operative seek to block the release of a movie being made in Israel about his 2010 assassination in a Dubai hotel, a family member said yesterday.

The killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was widely blamed on the Mossad, which never confirmed or denied involvement. Israeli officials have alleged that he played a role in smuggling weapons from Iran to the Gaza Strip.

The movie, which features Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli as a temptress working for the hit team, is a "Zionist conspiracy" to defame Mabhouh, said a cousin, Ahmed, who lives in Gaza. Details concerning the filing of a lawsuit are still being worked out, he said.

The movie's producer, Micha Scharfstein, said it takes artistic license and is not meant to be factual. The French-Israeli co-production "Kidon," Hebrew for "spear," is to be released in about half a year, he added.

Parts of the movie are now being filmed in the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat. In a plot twist, a gang of criminals murders al-Mabhouh in an attempt to frame the Mossad.

In one scene, Refaeli catches Mabhouh's eye by the hotel bar. He takes the bait, orders a drink, they have a chat and then leave together, the hotel surveillance cameras filming them as they go.

Ahmed al-Mabhouh said the family learned about the movie from the media and hopes to prevent its release. "We consider this movie ... a distortion of our late martyr and reject the Zionist conspiracy against him after his death which everyone knows is a lie," he said.