Israeli Novel With Parallels to Dubai Killing a Hit in Germany

Thriller's plot centers on Israeli secret service mission to assassinate top Hamas activist in hotel.

The translation of an Israeli novel about a fictional Shin Bet agent is getting exceptional attention in Germany, where critics and analysts are commenting about the plot's "astonishing" similarities to the Dubai assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

The hit is receiving extensive coverage in Germany, as local authorities begin investigating the use of German passports in the affair.

The latest issue of the prominent weekly Der Spiegel says Yishai Sarid's literary thriller "Limassol" shows astonishing parallels to the assassination of the Hamas leader in Dubai, which abroad is widely credited to the Mossad, and went so far as to wonder: "Is it merely a coincidence?" Similar comments were made in an article in Suddeutsche Zeitung, which said that "some of the plot is reminiscent of the operation in which Israeli intelligence agents tortured and murdered al-Mabhouh."

"The book was written several years ago, obviously without any connection to the Mabhouh affair," Sarid told Haaretz on Wednesday. Sarid, a 44-year-old lawyer, served as an officer in Military Intelligence. His thriller's protagonist is a Shin Bet agent bent on a sting operation: He needs to make contact with a Tel Aviv novelist and peace activist and use her to get to a terminally ill Palestinian friend due to arrive to Israel for treatment. The goal is to arrange a meeting with a Hamas militant in preparation for the latter's assassination in a Limassol hotel.

The author says there are "some interesting similarities" with the killing of Mabhouh. The targeted militant in the novel is a Hamas activist organizing terrorist activity from abroad, moving between Iran, Sudan, Syria and elsewhere. His assassination is supposed to be carried out in a hotel teeming with people and surveillance devices.