Footage of a suspected hit man.
Footage of a suspected hit man.
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Canadian officials said yesterday they were investigating reports that one of the Mossad agents allegedly involved in the Dubai killing of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh last January was arrested in Canada.

A source in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police told CBC News that he was "pretty sure" the agency was not involved in the alleged arrest. The official added that Interpol has not provided the RCMP with any information about the arrest. Now the national police force is trying to determine whether the arrest was made by a local law enforcement agency.

The Al-Ittihad daily quoted the head of the Dubai police force, Dahi Khalfan Tamim, as saying that Canadian authorities had arrested one of the suspects in the killing and that Ottawa informed the United Arab Emirates of the arrest as early as June. Tamim said that Canadian officials at the time requested that the information not be leaked to the media.

Three weeks ago, Tamim told media entities that an unnamed Western country had arrested one of the alleged co-conspirators. Yesterday he revealed that the country in question is Canada. "I am astonished," Tamim said. "Why this attempt to cover up on this issue? We must act transparent, reliably and quickly in such cases."

Tamim said that the man arrested in Canada is one of two men who were identified by security cameras at the Al Bustan Rotana Hotel in Dubai, where the assassination took place. Both men were seen wearing athletic gear and carrying tennis rackets while riding in the elevator together with al-Mabhouh. The Dubai police chief said that the two men followed the Hamas operative into the elevator in order to find out on which floor of the hotel he was staying.

Despite the security camera footage, no other information about the suspect - including a name or other discernible characteristics - is known.

The confusion and evasiveness with which Canadian officials have reacted to the reports offers no clue as to whether the arrested suspect remains in Canada or if he was arrested earlier this year and subsequently released. In any event, officials in Israel refused to comment on the case, as they have done since the affair was first reported on by the news media. In June, suspected Israeli intelligence agent Uri Brodsky was arrested in the Polish capital Warsaw on a German arrest warrant for alleged involvement in passport fraud in relation to the case.

The German media reported that he used the name Alexander Verin when he assisted another alleged Mossad agent, who represented himself as Michael Bodenheimer, the son of a German Jew named Hans Bodenheimer, in acquiring a German passport.

Brodsky, the first individual arrested in connection with the killing, was extradited to Germany and released on bail in August. According to Polish sources, even before his extradition was approved, a secret deal had been reached by which Brodsky would be allowed to return to Israel, with guarantees that if he is sentenced to jail time he will be sent back to Germany. German legal experts believe the court will only fine Brodsky and not ask for jail time.