Page last updated at 13:39 GMT, Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Hamas murder suspects 'not Irish'


Dubai police have released CCTV footage of the suspected killers

The Republic's Department of Foreign Affairs has said three supposedly Irish citizens Dubai authorities claim helped kill a Hamas official do not exist.

The Irish government said the trio do not appear in its records of legitimate passport-holders.

It also said the Irish passport numbers publicised by Dubai authorities were counterfeits, as they had the wrong number of digits and had no letters.

Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was murdered in his hotel room in Dubai on 20 January.

He was electrocuted and suffocated, according to reports last month.

Police in Dubai issued arrest warrants for 11 "agents with European passports" after the assassination.

The city's police chief said six of the suspects had British passports, three were Irish, one French and one German.

The three Irish suspects were identified as Gail Folliard, Evan Dennings and Kevin Daveron.

However, on Tuesday the Department of Foreign Affairs told the Associated Press: "We are unable to identify any of those three individuals as being genuine Irish citizens.

"Ireland has issued no passports in those names."

We have no doubts that it was 11 people holding these passports, and we regret that they used the travel documents of friendly countries
Lt Col Dhafi Khalfan Tamim
Dubai police

Officials in Dubai said the team appeared to be a professional hit-squad, most likely sponsored by a foreign power, suggesting the team were operating on false documents.

"We do not rule out the involvement of Mossad (the Israeli secret service), but when we arrest those suspects we will know who masterminded it," Lt Gen Dhafi Khalfan Tamim said.

"We have no doubts that it was 11 people holding these passports, and we regret that they used the travel documents of friendly countries," Lt Gen Tamim said.

Mr al-Mabhouh was a founder member of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, and was thought to be behind the kidnap and murder of two Israeli soldiers in 1989 during the first Palestinian Intifada.

The Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades have been responsible for suicide bombings and rocket attacks across Israel.

Israel has refused to comment on the accusations its security forces were behind the killing.

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