By Adrian Blomfield, in Jerusalem and Andrew Hough
16 Feb 2010
Suspects wanted in connection with the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, clockwise from top left : Michael Lawrence Barney, James Leonard Clarke, Stephen Daniel Hodes, Paul John Keeley, Melvyn Adam Mildiner Photo: AP
Mr Mabhouh, a senior figure in the military wing of Hamas, was found dead in a hotel room on Jan 20. According to one report he was killed by a female assassin who entered his room by posing as a member of hotel staff, injected him with a drug that induced a heart attack and hung a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door.
But other officers said he was strangled, probably after receiving an electric shock.
Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, blamed Israel’s Mossad intelligence service for the killing.
But video footage and a series of passport photographs released by the Dubai police last night suggested a much more convoluted and bizarre operation than is normally associated with Mossad, which has a reputation for ruthless professionalism.
Gen Dahi Tamim, Dubai’s police chief displayed a series of passport photographs showing 10 men and a woman at a press conference.
Most of the individuals appeared to be of Middle Eastern origin, even though they carried passports with European-sounding names.
Six of the suspects carried British passports, three others had Irish passports, while the other two had French and German documents.
The Britons were named as James Leonard Clarke, Stephen Daniel Hodes, Paul John Keeley, Michael Lawrence Barney, Jonathan Lewis Graham, Melvyn Adam Milliner.
The woman had Irish papers and was named as Gail Folliard. The other Irish were named as Kevin Daveron and Evan Dennings.
British government sources told The Daily Telegraph there was no "corroboration" within Whitehall of any British involvement in the assassination plot.
Government sources also said that officials do not believe any Irish nationals were involved but were Mossad agents using Irish passports.
Gen Tamim also released CCTV footage that showed the woman wearing a wig and sporting a large hat and sunglasses in an apparent attempt to blend in with tourists.
Other suspects were wearing tennis clothes and false beards and carried tennis rackets. They were shown entering and exiting the al-Bustan Rotana hotel, where the victim stayed. Four of the group are then shown using an electronic device to open the door of a hotel room.
Despite appearances to the contrary, Gen Tamim said the operation was highly professional. None of the suspects was in Dubai for more than 19 hours, while Mr Mabhouh was killed just five hours after he arrived in the Gulf state.
Beyond saying it was possible that '“leaders of certain countries gave orders to their intelligence agents”, Gen Tamim made no direct accusation against Israel, which has declined to comment.
Although he hinted that the suspects may have used stolen passports, the police chief called on Britain to co-operate with the investigation.
A Foreign Office spokesman said officials were “seeking further information” and were aware a request had been made to Interpol for arrest warrants.
He declined to comment further.
Asked if any of the names had been registered with British officials or if any had reported passports being stolen, a spokeswoman for the Home Office declined to comment.
A spokesman for the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs said:
Scotland Yard sources also had no knowledge of any British involvement in the plot.