Report: Dubai Police Hunt for Israeli Suspect in Mabhouh Killing

Zev Barkan, wanted in New Zealand over passport fraud allegations, one of 5 new suspects in Dubai probe.

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United Arab Emirates officials on Thursday named five new suspects, including one Israeli citizen, in the probe surrounding the killing of Hamas strongman Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Hamas strongman Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Credit: Archive

Quoting a person familiar with the details, one of the suspects in the Dubai investigation could be Israeli Zev Barkan, who is also wanted in New Zealand since 2004 for passport fraud, The Journal reported.

Barkan has been sought by New Zealand police for alleged involvement in a  case in which two Israeli citizens were sentenced by a New Zealand court to six-month in jail for attempting to obtain a New Zealand passport under fraudulent circumstances.

According to the Journal, the five new suspects carried passports from Britain, Australia and France.

Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was killed in January when a team of assassins broke into his hotel room and killed him silently, leaving a 'do not disturb' sign on the door. The hotel security cameras caught images of the alleged killers sharing an elevator ride with Mabhouh prior to the assassination.

Since the killing, Dubai police have identified over 32 suspects, releasing photos of 27 people who were allegedly involved in the assassination based on alleged forged passports.

The Mossad has been implicated by the Dubai police as having masterminded the assassination, but Israel has said there is no proof tying Mossad to the incident.

According to the journal, a spokesman for Israel's foreign ministry denied Mr. Barkan ever worked for the government.

Interpol Secretary-General Ronald K. Noble praised the Dubai police for their "in-depth" investigation, saying that  "that's what is most extraordinary, the depth, thoroughness and openness of the Dubai police's investigation of an assassination that took months to plan, but only hours to execute," The Journal reported.