Assassination in Dubai

Assassination in Dubai

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Sometimes a necessary evil


محمود المبحوح‎‎, Maḥmūd al-Mabḥūḥ found murdered in a Dubai hotel room.

Understanding why is easy, figuring out who? Well that’s the difficult part.

Murdered 1/19/2010, in Al Bustan Rotana airport hotel in Dubai. Upon staff opening the door of room 230 they found the body of a man on the bed.

According to the death certificate, the cause of death was “brain hemorrhage.”

Mabhouh was drugged, electrocuted and then suffocated. Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan Tamim of the Dubai Police Force said the suspects tracked Al-Mabhouh to Dubai from Damascus, Syria.

The suspects? Well in all they had between 26 – 30 suspects. 26 of those delightful individuals also managed to make it to Interpol’s most wanted list. The Dubai police found that 12 of the suspects used British passports, along with 6 Irish, 4 French, 1 German, and 3 Australian passports.

Interpol and the Dubai police believed that the suspects stole the identities of real people, mostly Israeli dual citizens.

The only arrest made has been that of Uri Brodsky who was apprehended in Poland and extradited to Germany for allegedly procuring a fraudulent German passport. It’s unknown if Uri Brodsky is his real name, what is clear is that during the investigation, authorities started to see a picture that just might implicate multiple nations of conspiring to kill Mabhuh.

Dozens of suspects were interviewed however…


It is believed that Mabḥuh was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of two Israeli soldiers in 1989, was considered to be the chief weapons negotiator for Hamas, the Palestinian organization’s main contact to Tehran and responsible for the logistics behind rocket attacks on Israel coming from the Gaza Strip.

In other words, he wasn’t exactly the most well liked guy walking the face of the earth and he had a lot of enemies as a result.  

Dubai’s police chief had at one time said that he is at least “99% certain” that the assassination was the work of Israel’s Mossad and that is sure that all of the suspects are hiding in Israel. He later recanted that, or at the very least had second thoughts on the subject.

Hamas leaders also think that Israel is responsible but Hamas didn’t exactly have the best reputation as far as the EU and US go. Given the allies and enemies of both Hamas and Israel one can understand why many suspect that either multiple nations were involved with the actual assassination if not the planning and subsequent hiding in suspects that seemed to just disappear.

Earlier attempted assassination

According to GQ magazine, in 2009 this elite team of killers tried and failed to kill Maḥmūd al-Mabḥūh by poisoning him. It is not clear if they snuck into his hotel room and placed it in or on something that he touched or if it was placed directly into his food or drink, all that is known is that he became very ill for a time.

The story goes that in an article written by Ronen Bergman, an Israeli investigative journalist pretty much says outright that Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency was behind the attack. The agency’s code name for al-Mabhouh was Plasma Screen.

It was well known at the time that Israeli spies had been monitoring Mabhouh’s e-mail and online activities via…a Trojan horse that had been planted on his computer. They knew he planned to go to Dubai from that.

They did not know exactly what hotel he’d be saying at, but in Dubai you can find someone relatively easily and it was even easier when surveillance teams were deployed to figure out which hotel Mabhouh would be staying at.

Mabhouh,  was reportedly in Dubai to arrange shipments of weapons to Hamas and the team just so happened to reprogram the electronic lock on his hotel room door while he was out for a four-hour meeting.

They reprogrammed it so that the hit men could enter the room with an unregistered electronic key while at the same time not disabling it for Mabhouh’s key.

Hotel records did show that about an hour before the hit, someone in fact was tampering with the lock.

According to Bergman, who disputes the police report, the assassins entered his room and waited for him to return, at which point he was injected with a poison that causes muscular paralysis, once the muscles needed for breathing cease it will cause death. They managed to leave the room with no sign of a struggle.

The hit team made a rather large number of miscalculations and mistakes however on their way out of the town. The most glaring of which is that they failed to recognize the fact that the Dubai police force has a success rate of about 100% in terms of closing cases, with 100% accuracy.

What can I say, they are pretty good.

Other mistakes include but are not limited to:

~Operatives used the bathroom facility at the same hotel then put on some pretty piss poor disguises.

~They were caught on surveillance tape entering and leaving the bathrooms.

~Other operatives hung out in Mabhouh’s hotel lobby for hours wearing tennis gear but showed no sign of interest in heading to the courts to actually play tennis.

~The Dubai police were actually able to piece together hours and hours of footage and piece together the movements of the team…over several months of movements throughout Dubai.

Bergman wrote: “The laughable attempts of the Mossad operatives to disguise their appearance made for good television coverage, but the more fundamental errors committed by the team had less to do with cloak-and-dagger disguises than with a kind of arrogance that seems to have pervaded the planning and execution of the mission.”

October 11, 2010 the National of Abu Dhabi published an interview with Dubai’s police chef, LT. Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim where he claimed that the a “western” country had arrested a top suspect in the killing around two months prior. He went on to say that the ambassador of that western country did not want to name the country or the suspect.

On 28 December 2010, secret cables leaked by Wikileaks showed that Dubai considered keeping the assassination secret, and asked the United States to help track down information on credit card numbers suspected of having been used by the assassins. The United States did not cooperate with the investigation.

Most countries will outwardly tell you that they do not sanction or condone such assassinations yet inwardly, they know that sometimes they are a necessary evil.

As for the assassination of Maḥmūd al-Mabḥūḥ, well it’s never quite officially been solved and it is unlikely that it ever will be with so many who have chosen to look the other way.

Cristal M Clark


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