(See update at end of article.)
Last month, on the night of January 19, Hamas military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh arrived in Dubai, oddly without his bodyguards. He checked into the five-star Al-Bustan Rotana Hotel. He was allegedly on a weapons-buying trip.
A little after midnight that same night, eleven European tourists arrived at the Dubai airport carrying tennis rackets and various kinds of sporting equipment, apparently on vacation. Images of the group were captured on CCTV cameras at the airport.
The following afternoon, one of the eleven European tourists checked into the Al-Bustan Rotana Hotel, specifically into room 237 located directly across the hall from where al-Mabhouh was staying in room 230. Throughout the day, all eleven Europeans roamed around the luxury hotel. CCTV camera footage released by the Dubai police shows one of the tourists entering a bathroom. When he emerges, he’s wearing a false beard and a baseball cap. The group was not made up of tourists; rather, they were an assassination team on a mission to kill the commander from Hamas. One member of the hit squad, a female, roams around the hotel in a dark wig, a floppy hat, and sunglasses.
That evening, a little after 8:00 p.m., Mabhouh arrived back at the hotel and immediately went to his room. According to Dubai’s chief of police Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, forensic tests indicate that within the hour, Mabhouh was dead, having been suffocated to death. Two hours after the attack, the assassins left Dubai. They were in the country for only 19 hours.
For weeks, Dubai police quietly investigated the crime. And then earlier this week, Dubai police announced that through Interpol they had issued arrest warrants for the eleven European suspects, as well as six other people they say may have helped facilitate the crime. Dubai police also released the CCTV footage which has been captivating British TV audiences all week. The team of assassins, disguised with beards, hats, and tennis racquets, can be seen conducting surveillance around the hotel. Lieutenant General Tamim told reporters: “We have identified the suspects … and will take legal action against anyone or any party which will prove to stand behind the murder.”