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British men named as assassins shocked by claims

Photo on passport of Melvyn Adam Mildiner released by Dubai Police
Dubai police said this photo was on a passport belonging to Melvyn Mildiner

Israel-based UK citizens whose names were on passports an alleged hit squad used insist they had nothing to do with killing a Hamas commander in Dubai.

Melvyn Mildiner said he "went to bed with pneumonia and woke up a murderer", and Paul Keeley denied involvement.

Dubai believes 11 "agents with European passports" killed Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

UK passports used were said to be fake and Lib Dem MP Sir Menzies Campbell wants Israel to explain claims it was involved - it says there is no proof.

Sir Menzies called for the Foreign Office to summon the Israeli ambassador to give an explanation, amid suggestions agents from the state's security service Mossad used the fraudulent passports to carry out the killing.

"If the Israeli government was party to behaviour of this kind it would be a serious violation of trust between nations," he said.

ANALYSIS
Katya Adler
Katya Adler, BBC Middle East correspondent
Israel is alive with rumour as to whether Israel's intelligence service, Mossad, murdered Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

Mossad has used fraudulent foreign passports and stolen identities to carry out its missions in the past, provoking diplomatic rows with a number of friendly countries.

Former Israeli secret service officer, Gad Shimron, says agents steal identities to escape tougher security checks. But would Mossad want to point the finger at innocent Israeli citizens?

At least five of the names listed by Dubai match those of Israeli dual nationals.

Maybe Mossad thought this was a clear way, without making a public declaration, of letting the world know it organised the murder - thereby sending a warning to Israel's enemies abroad.

It is possible another country masterminded the attack, designing it to look like a clumsy Mossad operation. Or maybe Israel co-operated with others.

Hugo Swire, chairman of the Conservative Middle East Council, said he wanted a "full investigation" and that the British government should demand evidence of the Israeli and Dubai intelligence services.

But Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Army Radio: "There is no reason to think that it was the Israeli Mossad, and not some other intelligence service or country up to some mischief."

Israel had a "policy of ambiguity" on intelligence matters, he added.

The UK Foreign Office believes the six British passports used were fraudulent and is investigating.

Other Britons in Israel who share names with the suspects are James Leonard Clarke, Stephen Daniel Hodes, Michael Lawrence Barney and Jonathan Lewis Graham. They all deny involvement in the killing.

Salford-born Mr Hodes, 37, who lives in Israel, said he was "in shock".

"I don't know how they got my details, who took them. I haven't left the country, I think, for two years and I've never been to Dubai ever. I don't know who's behind this. I am just scared, these are major forces," he told Israeli television.

A "shocked" Mr Barney, 54, told the Daily Mail he had undergone a quadruple heart bypass and was "not exactly spy material".

Mr Mildiner, 31, told the Jerusalem Post he was "angry" his identity had apparently been stolen.

"Clearly it isn't me. It doesn't look like me," he said.

"The details are not correct. The date of birth is wrong. I've never been to Dubai.

"I went to bed with pneumonia and woke up a murderer," he said.

Kent-born Mr Keeley, 42, a builder who has lived on a Kibbutz in northern Israel for the past 15 years, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper it was "all very worrying" but he had done nothing wrong.

'Professional hit'

"I immediately looked to make sure my passport was still there and it was," he said.

Mr Graham, who the Daily Mail said was from north London but lived near Jerusalem, told the paper: "It's not me."

Their family names are not common in Israel, according to BBC's Middle East correspondent Katya Adler.

Ireland's government says it has been unable to identify suspects Gail Folliard, Evan Dennings and Kevin Daveron as "genuine Irish citizens".

Another two men, one using a French passport and one using a German passport, are also under suspicion. The French and German governments have also reportedly raised doubts over their identities.

Hamas killing

Police in Dubai have released images of 27 people they believe are behind the killing of a senior Hamas commander. The suspects are accused of using fake passports bearing their own pictures, but the names of innocent citizens.
Twelve of the passports used were British (shown on previous slide). The other 15 on the list are reported to have used stolen identities from Australian, French, Irish and German citizens.
The 27th suspect used the alias Joshua Aaron Krycer - a stolen Australian identity (pictured left). Police say the suspects used their fake documents to travel to Dubai in groups, flying from Zurich, Rome, Paris and Frankfurt.
One of the victims of the identity theft was British-Israeli Paul John Keeley (pictured right). The passport used by one of the suspected assassins bore his name, but featured a photograph of another man (pictured left).
Palestinian militant Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was killed in his hotel room in Dubai on 20 January. Police claim one of the suspects, pictured on the left, went to a hotel to put on a disguise. He is seen leaving a toilet wearing a wig.
Surveillance cameras also recorded Mr Mabhouh, circled in red above, at the hotel's reception before his death. At the bottom of the image the head of one of the suspects can be seen. As Mr Mabhouh leaves, the suspect follows.
Mr Mabhouh is trailed into the lift by a number of the suspects, including two pictured here in tennis gear. Investigators believe he had been followed from Syria to Dubai where it is thought he wanted to buy weapons for Hamas.
When Mr Mabhouh leaves the lift, police say two of the suspects can be seen following him down the corridor. He was later found dead in his room. A post-mortem report said he had been electrocuted and suffocated.
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Mr Mabhouh was murdered in his hotel room in Dubai on 20 January.

Reports have suggested he was in Dubai to buy weapons for the Palestinian Islamist movement, Hamas. Hamas has accused Israeli agents of killing him.

Two Palestinian suspects were being questioned about the murder. Police said they had "fled to Jordan" after the killing, without releasing their names.

Officials in Dubai, who have issued arrest warrants, said the team appeared to be a professional hit squad, probably sponsored by a foreign power.

They released CCTV footage which they said showed some of the suspects in disguises, including wigs and false beards, in the hotel near Dubai's international airport.

The suspects allegedly trailed Mr Mabhouh when he arrived in Dubai from Syria, paid for everything in cash and used various mobile phones.

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SEE ALSO
Dubai suspects' passports 'faked'
16 Feb 10 |  Middle East
Dubai names Hamas 'killer team'
16 Feb 10 |  Middle East
Pictures of 26 'agents' sought over Hamas killing
24 Feb 10 |  Special Reports



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