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World Digest: Dubai challenged on its account of Hamas figure's death

NORTH KOREA In a photo released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency, young people dance in a square in Pyongyang as they celebrate the 68th birthday of the country's leader, Kim Jong Il. Kim, who suffered a stroke in 2008, has been laying the groundwork for a successor.
NORTH KOREA In a photo released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency, young people dance in a square in Pyongyang as they celebrate the 68th birthday of the country's leader, Kim Jong Il. Kim, who suffered a stroke in 2008, has been laying the groundwork for a successor. (Korea News Service Via Associated Press)

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

United Arab Emirates

Dubai's account of slaying is challenged

A spy novel-worthy police narrative about the slaying of a Hamas commander brought uneasy questions for Dubai authorities Tuesday as their account of a crack hit squad from Europe ran into serious challenges from Britain, Ireland and Germany.

At least four people who live in Israel share names with suspects identified by Dubai police investigating the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Three of the four said they were not the people whose photos were made public by Dubai; a daughter of the fourth said the allegations were a mistake.

Even so, the purported link to Israel was likely to encourage the Palestinian Hamas movement and others to press their claims that Israel's Mossad intelligence agency was behind the slaying.

Another twist added to the intrigue. Officials outside Dubai said at least two Palestinians linked to the case were in Dubai custody, leaving Hamas and its Western-backed Palestinian rivals trading bitter accusations.

Dubai authorities described an 11-member team that swooped into the Persian Gulf city-state last month on a mission to kill Mabhouh and then fanned out with clockwork precision to Europe, Asia and South Africa in less than 24 hours.

Dubai Police Chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim ran through the details at a news conference Monday, describing suspects who donned fake beards or wigs and shadowed Mabhouh so closely they rode in the same elevator with him at a luxury hotel.

But the account quickly came under dispute. And other elements added to the scrutiny on Dubai, including how investigators pieced together the evidence or why such a well-planned operation would overlook Dubai's wide-ranging security cameras.

It all adds up to something far less definitive than Tamim's presentation, which included video surveillance clips of both the alleged killers and Mabhouh.

-- Associated Press


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