Dubai Police Chief openly accused Israel of assassinating Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in one of the emirate's hotels on Jan.19, adding that a Hamas member leaked travel information about the victim into Israel’s Mossad spy agency.
In an interview with Al Arabiya's show Ida’at, to be aired Friday, Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan revealed several details about the assassination and the clues that led to deciphering the mystery surrounding it.
Dubai police did not know in the beginning the identity of the victim as his identity papers did not include his last name and he was not one of Hamas's publically known faces, the police chief said.
"Had we known who he was, we would not have allowed him in to Dubai," he told Al Arabiya. "We do allow officials from Hamas’ political office, but not members involved in secretive work."
Regarding how the details of the crime were unraveled, Khalfan denied reports that the perpetrators left evidence that made it easy to do so and that they intended to deliver a certain message through leaving traces.
"On the contrary, the murderers tried their best to mislead us. They left the hotel room neat and tidy to give the impression that it was a natural death."
In fact, he added, the Dubai police was about to declare it a natural death as the identity of the victim had not been known yet and there was no criminal suspicion.
"Things started to change when a Palestinian man who knows Mabhouh tried contacting him in Dubai several times and failed. After learning of his death, he called his family in Gaza and told them that he was murdered."
It was then that officials from Hamas contacted the Dubai police and informed them that the victim was a leader in the Islamic resistance organization.
"Revealing the victim's identity gave the case a whole new turn and an autopsy was immediately made."
The autopsy, Khalfan explained, revealed the Mabhouh was strangled after being injected with a drug that causes paralysis.
"Israeli media said he was subjected to electric shocks and this is not true."
Khalfan stated that only 20 hours after the murder was reported and the victim identified, everything was put into place.
"We immediately got the photos ready thanks to the surveillance cameras, of which thousands are spread all over Dubai. After this case, the Dubai police specifically instructed hotels to use smart cameras."
Regarding surveillance cameras, Khalfan pointed out that the presence of those cameras does not by any means imply a violation of the privacy of individuals.
According to Khalfan, the culprits also made several mistakes that helped in identifying them like the way they were disguised.
"For example, one of them was disguised as a tennis player and it was very obvious that he is not athletic at all and that he never played tennis in his entire life. It was also not logical that he spends hours on end in the hotel lobby with the tennis gear instead of going to play."
But a major clue was Israel’s use of fake passports from countries it has long been in good terms with.
"Israel now made it clear to the countries whose passports it used in the crime that it is a country that violates the law."
Khalfan expressed his surprise that the perpetrators used the same passports to enter the United States and several European countries and yet were not discovered.
"How come security forces and passport authorities in these countries did not find out that the passports were fake?"
Khalfan praised the vigilance of the Dubai police and expressed his absolute faith in the emirate's security forces.
"I challenge anyone to mention a crime that took place in the emirate and that was closed without identifying the culprit."
He refused to consider the murder of Mabhouh a violation of Dubai's security and scoffed at Israel's claims that it achieved victory by committing this crime.
"How can Israel consider the killing of one man a victory? If this is how they think, then they do not know what victory means."
Khalfan also denied having threatened European countries with stopping their investments if they do not cooperate in the investigation.
The Dubai police refused a request from Hamas, which sought a role in the investigations, citing reasons of national sovereignty.
"If Hamas has information, then let them look for the man who leaked information to Israel about Mabhouh's movements."
Mabhouh was betrayed from within, stressed Khalfan.
"Someone from inside Hamas and who was close to him leaked information about his whereabouts to the Israel."
As for a Palestinian man detained in Dubai for alleged links to the case, Khalfan refused to give information about his political affiliation.
"I personally do not care whether he is from Hamas or Fatah, but the U.A.E. is not a battlefield for warring factions."
The police chief denied to Al Arabiya that Qatar proposed to mediate between Dubai and Israel to resolve the problem.
"I don't think the Qatari prince would ask for such a thing and I did not receive any instructions from the ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid in this regard."
Khalfan stressed that the Dubai Police possesses an "astounding" data base and that they have the ability to infiltrate of the office of the Mossad director, if necessary.
(Translated from the Arabic by Sonia Farid)