Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Media Hit Squads Hit Israel

The media's going in for a spot of Israel-bashing after a hit-squad with fake UK passports took out a Hamas leader in a Dubai hotel room. That murky Mossad is at it again - or maybe it isn't.

The assassination of gun-running Hamas commander, al-Mabhouh (above), has all the ingredients of a le Carre spy-thriller. Spielberg is already rumoured to be working on the movie. And the Orange Party has lost count of the number of times "Israel" pops up in BBC reports.

With trained precision, tennis shorts, wigs and fake UK and Euro passports, the 11 strong hit-squad took out the gun-running go-between accused of channeling Iranian weapons to Gaza Strip thugs.

Even Bunkered Brown has been roped in calling for a full investigation, telling LBC listeners: "The British passport is an important part of being British and we have to make sure everything is being done to protect it."

Give it a rest.

The six British-Israelis on the suspects' passports (pictured right) are all suitably 'shocked', saying they had nothing to do with the murder of murderous al-Mabhouh.

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

The Orange Party's favourite is a 'shocked' Mr Mildiner, 31, who told the Jerusalem Post: "Clearly it isn't me. It doesn't look like me. I went to bed with pneumonia and woke up a murderer."

LibDem Ming the Magnificent has called for sweet FO to summon the Israeli ambassador, amid "suggestions Mossad agents had used the fraudulent passports to enable them to enter Dubai and carry out the killing." But who is making the 'suggestions'?

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

But who started the rumour?

Israel is keeping tight-lipped about the killing. Dubai said that while it believes a foreign state may have been involved in the murder, it has not fingered Israel.

Hamas, for its part, is convinced that Israel was involved and has already vowed revenge.

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

So where is the Israeli connection? Not surprisingly only Hamas has directly accused Israeli agents of killing him. The UK media has a history of being easily duped by Hamas propaganda.

The hit squad flew to Dubai on European passports and took a room in al-Mabhouh's swanky hotel. All in the full glare of an airport and hotel festooned with CCTV cameras, with footage swiftly released to the international media. Reports out of Dubai variously say he was strangled to death or poisoned. So where were the bodyguards?

Sure the Israeli secret service, Mossad, has form using fake foreign passports and stolen identities to carry out its missions, sometimes spectacularly successful and sometimes totally botched. Who hasn't seen Spielberg's Munich and the Black September aftermath?

But would Mossad really be so daft as to screw up its covert operation pointing the finger at innocent Israeli/European citizens?

"It is possible another country masterminded the attack, designing it to look like a clumsy Mossad operation," says a Mossad insider. Or maybe it was the CIA, Palestinian rivals Fatah, Saudis with no love for Hamas or Iran, Hamas itself as a neat way of stabbing Israel in the back, or our very own 007 with a licence to kill.

New Labour's commons foreign affairs chairman, Mike Gapes, said the "sophisticated" assassination was either carried out by Israel "or someone trying to make sure it looks like the Israelis". Well knock me down with a copy of The Ladybird Book of Spying.

The guy had his fair share of enemies not least in the Arab world. A Hamas source was reported yesterday as saying that al-Mabhouh had been imprisoned in Egypt for almost a year in 2003, and that he was wanted not only by the Israelis, but also by the Jordanians and the Egyptians.

Two Palestinian suspects were being questioned about the murder. Police said they had "fled to Jordan" after the killing.

The relatively moderate UAE has no love for an agent of Iranian-backed Hamas. Or perhaps al-Mabhouh was the victim of Hamas infighting?

And what if it was Israel's Mossad who finished off a murderous Hamas thug. Shome would say Kol HaKavod!

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