Patterico's Pontifications


The Assassination of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh

Filed under: International,Terrorism — DRJ @ 8:30 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Hamas founder and member Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh was assassinated in his Dubai hotel room last month, and Hamas believes it was a Mossad operation:

“Mabhouh was a senior member of Hamas and one of its founders. He was thought to be heavily involved in the 1989 kidnapping and murder of two Israeli Soldiers, Avi Saparotas and Ilan Saadon. Mabhouh held the position of chief weapons importer to Hamas. Mabhouh has negotiated weapons deal with the Iranians to supply Hamas with long-range missiles, the deadliest weapons in Hamas’s arsenal.

The last moments of Mabhouh’s life were tracked by UAE authorities. 17 members are believed to comprise Mahbouh’s hit team. The hit team arrived in Dubai Airport 19 hours before the killing. They arrived separately from different destinations, checked in to different hotel rooms, paid for their purchases in cash, used disposable cell phones, never had telephone contact with each other but called a suspicious number in Austria. As soon as Mabhouh landed at UAE he was shadowed by members of the team. Other members of the team dressed as Tennis Players followed him to his hotel and then inside the elevator to his floor. One member checked in to a room opposite that of Mabhouh. Mabhouh took a walk around the city and came back to his hotel room around 8:30 pm. It is believed that 4 members of the team were laying in wait for him at his hotel room and ambushed him. There were conflicting reports as to whether Mabhouh as suffocated or electrocuted. After the killing, the team was able to fly out of Dubai. Since the murder, Hamas has pointed an accusatory finger at Mossad, the Israeli Intelligence Agency. Hamas believes that the Israelis assassinated Mabhouh along with perhaps some other unnamed intelligence services.”

Others aren’t convinced:

“An agency of the caliber of Mossad must know of the closed circuit cameras through out Dubai and yet the alleged Mossad agents allowed the cameras to obtain full views of their faces. Mabhouh was trailed so closely that he even bumped one of the assassins on the way from the airport. The passports were real names of real Israeli citizens, forging a direct link to Israel. spy agencies usually like to conduct assassinations without traces, especially to their own country. Unless the Mossad has become completely incompetent of late; it seems almost too easy to accuse it.”

There’s more in-depth analysis as well as discussion of a Fatah motive at the link. Read it and see what you think.


29 Responses to “The Assassination of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh”

  1. Maybe they wanted it known in order to terrify the terrorists. Like a giant sign to others, “YOU’RE NEXT”!

    peedoffamerican (b21f59)

  2. I fixed the title to omit an extra “Assassination of.”

    DRJ (6a8003)

  3. Peedoff, Mossad doesn’t work that way. They aren’t there, and even when they are there, they aren’t there. They don’t exist.

    John Hitchcock (181b3b)

  4. Regarding the commentary at the link – nah, I don’t think so.

    If you’ve got lots of people it means you don’t have to show the same faces all the time. They didn’t know where he was going to be staying, so they had enough surveillance on hand to cover all (or at least the most likely) probabilities.

    If none of the team are known to the opposition then you don’t need to worry much about showing up on camera, at least insofar as completing the operation. It’d be more suspicious if they were obviously avoiding them.

    The passports are a question, I have a hard time believing the Israelis would do it that way. But who else would have the opportunity to copy those passports?

    Gonna be interesting to watch this play out.

    JEM (a0f32a)

  5. They haven’t worked that way in the past, I agree.

    However, with the spate of terror being unleashed and the situation with Iran unfolding, it could just be that they wanted to send a message. “No matter where you are, no matter who you are, we can kill you.”

    peedoffamerican (b21f59)

  6. I don’t think we have any need to know. It is an entertaining story but in my opinion, one that is best left alone and allowed to die a quiet death.

    crosspatch (6adcc9)

  7. I watched videos today from Al-Jazeera and something called GNTV — linked from Hot Air — about this.

    The obvious suspect is Mossad, but there’s something fishy going on.

    Ag80 (f67beb)

  8. There certainly were a lot of moving parts.

    j curtis (5126e4)

  9. Even more fishy to me was how well Dubai was able to assemble all this information so quickly, and how much of their work they revealed.

    One thing is for sure – I would never want to go to Dubai, where it appears every action is filmed by cameras.

    steve miller (ca20cc)

  10. 9

    They didn’t film down the hall where all the action was happening. If there was a camera, the team likely disabled it at some point and they didn’t want to show the early film before they spray painted it ( or by some other means obscured the camera ) because it would make the hotel look bad because it wasn’t monitored at the important time.

    j curtis (5126e4)

  11. It seems unlikely, knowing what we now know, that it was the Israeli’s;
    We know we didn’t do it;
    Who has Hamas really pissed-off lately?

    AD - RtR/OS! (3742c3)

  12. A terrorist POS is dead. This is a good thing. Give the team a medal.

    cubanbob (409ac2)

  13. Interesting how they went out of their way to face the cameras at some points, and to do things that would show them – such as changing their looks in a bathroom rather than in a private room.

    As if they were doing the action of a magician who keeps your eye looking at this side of the stage when all the action is actually occurring on the other side.

    steve miller (ca20cc)

  14. Steve:

    Of course, you and I are assuming the video is showing the perpetrators.

    I’m not trained in observing criminals or spies or Mossad agents.

    If you ignore the commentary on the videos, most of the suspects look like regular people doing regular things.

    I’m really making assumptions based on commentary supplied by an unknown entity. What aroused my curiosity is when the GNTV video showed two hatted people using a — I can’t remember the exact words — “communications device” that looked to me like a cell phone.

    Ag80 (f67beb)

  15. cubanbob – I agree. If we don’t know who did it, how do we know where to send the thank you card?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  16. “One thing is for sure – I would never want to go to Dubai, where it appears every action is filmed by cameras.”

    Welcome to our future.

    imdw (017d51)

  17. Mossad is good but its not perfect. Recall when they shot a Palestinian waiter by mistake in Scandanavia trying for a PLO terrorist.

    So I’m not convinced that it was definitely not Mossad, but obviously it is a puzzling little story that we’ll probably never fully understand.

    And probably that’s how someone wants it.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  18. It’s best not to travel to the Emirates if you are on a hit list, Zandarbichev, the exiled Chechen
    leader, got in Doha, five years ago, as partial
    payback for Beslan

    ian cormac (b07ff6)

  19. obviously it is a puzzling little story that we’ll probably never fully understand.

    This is going to unravel. The Brits are enraged that someboody forged their passports and are investigating from their end, and even in Israel there are calls for heads to roll.

    Subotai (93ecef)

  20. Yeah, “false flag” op was my first impression. Possibly the Dubaians were not all that pleased at having their neutrality compromised by Hamas.

    Israel is the obvious fall guy.

    mojo (8096f2)

  21. Why would mossad use the names of real Israelis?

    imdw (c80ec1)

  22. Hamas will now be forced to buy food and medical supplies, while the Iranians will be stuck with their missiles. How sad.

    Neo (7830e6)

  23. There were enough fake passports using identity of persons found in Israel to lead one to think that it was a Mossad op that just wasn’t as neat as expected.

    SPQR (b8ef0f)

  24. this is too sloppy to be Mossad, unless someone decided to hide behind this sloppy smokescreen, and the real hit team is unidentified.

    the next question is, why would they do that in such a way as to draw all the attention straight to Israel?

    this is the great thing about intel ops, you can just keep asking questions, adding layer after layer of supposition, and never know what really happened. personally, i think a wait and see attitude at this point would be the most productive exercise.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  25. And the Ireland passports, for example, used all numbers when a real Irish passport code has letters and numbers both – ie, if the customs attendant had looked at her sheet for Irish passports, they would have known it to be an obvious phony. That doesn’t sound like Mossad there.

    luagha (5cbe06)

  26. Peedoff, Mossad doesn’t work that way. They aren’t there, and even when they are there, they aren’t there. They don’t exist.

    JH is exactly right here – Mossad never leaves a trail of anything of tangential value. No prints, no pics, and especially no vids, ever. No way was this their handiwork – they come at their targets completely under the radar, and no one can ever positively finger them after the assassination has occured.

    I’ll give you just one recent example – there was an HBO doc a few years ago (excellent, it was narrated by Michael Douglas) on the PLO assassination of the entire Israeli team during the Summer Olympics in Munich. Mossad has killed every member who participated in that action, save for one. And when he was interviewed for the doc, they just missed him right after he left the building they were filming in. But no one saw them, no one had any evidence that they were there, yet (best of all) the intended victim knew exactly who they were, and promptly resumed his life as a fugitive on the run. That’s the way Mossad works – you know they’re going to get you, but you also know that you’ll never see it coming.

    Keep in mind that this atttempted hit was regarding an event that happened all the way back to 1972. Tenacious doesn’t begin to describe their dedication.

    Dmac (799abd)

  27. whoever killed him, it sure wasn’t the CIA -the right guy is dead-if it was the CIA ther’d be a crowd of bystanders mowed down.

    reg (99fa64)

  28. Needless to say, the Brits aren’t happy:

    RT (b1d2aa)

  29. It was the Soup Nazi!

    Kevin Gets (e2719d)

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