An Eye for an Eye: The Anatomy of Mossad's Dubai Operation

Part 4: Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010, Afternoon

Photo Gallery: The Dubai Operation Photos
DUBAI POLICE / DER SPIEGEL

Mabhouh arrived in Dubai on Emirates flight EK 912 from Damascus. He handed the immigration control officer a Palestinian passport in the name of Mahmoud Abd al-Rauf Mohammed Hassan, which stated his profession as "merchant." At least that was correct.

A Mossad team had expected Mabhouh at the terminal and notified the others, who then followed him to the hotel. The Al Bustan, part of a group called "The Leading Hotels of the World," is especially popular among transit passengers who need a place to stay after a late-night arrival.

Travelers are constantly pulling their trolley cases across the polished marble floors in the lobby, where noise is drowned out by the sound of water in the fountains or muted by thick carpeting. The rooms on the second floor are off a narrow hallway with only one access point, making the area easy to secure and the perfect place to commit a crime.

Two agents carrying tennis rackets and with towels thrown over their shoulders had been waiting in the lobby since 2:12 p.m.

Tamim would later explain that this was their most glaring mistake, because, as he says, no real tennis player walks around with his tennis racket out of its case.

He Knew He Was a Target

Mohammed Haroun, a Palestinian businessman with a German passport, installed the security cameras at the Al Bustan Rotana. "It's funny that the suspects believed that they could hide under a cap," says Haroun, the head of Security Advice Services. "But I know where and at what angle to install the cameras."

The security camera images show Mabhouh looking around as he checks in at the front desk. He looked over his shoulder as he walked out of the elevator onto the second floor. He knew that he was a target of one of the world's most effective intelligence agencies. He didn't seem overly concerned about the two tennis players sharing the elevator with him.

When Mabhouh, an unobtrusive, rotund man with a moustache, stepped out of the elevator, he had five hours left to live.

The two tennis players noted Mabhouh's room number, 230, a non-smoking room, and sent it to Elvinger in a text message. They also sent him the number of the room across the hall, 237, and Elvinger promptly called the hotel to reserve the room. Then he booked his return flight, to Zürich via Doha.

One of the cameras in front of the hotel recorded the mirror image of a white delivery van with tinted windows. A few of the agents walked to the vehicle but then turned around abruptly. They had apparently mistaken it for a vehicle being driven by an accomplice.

A Borrowed Name

This would put the investigators on the trail of a 62-year-old British citizen named Christopher Lockwood. According to the Wall Street Journal, Lockwood had his name changed in 1994 from the name he was using at the time, Yehuda Lustig. But that name, the Journal discovered, also proved to be false, a name borrowed from a young soldier killed in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

At 4:23 p.m., Mabhouh left the Al Bustan. Coincidentally, a Mossad agent was going the same way.

Despite their subsequent eagerness to show off their achievements, the Dubai police have had little to say about what Mabhouh was doing in the four hours before returning to the hotel. "As far as I know," Tamim said at the time, "he had a ticket to China and then on to Sudan -- or the other way around. He may have made a stopover here to unwind."

For a man like Mabhouh, unwinding might include discussing an arms deal for the Gaza Strip, one of the world's most explosive pieces of real estate. According to Israeli sources, Mabhouh met with a banker who had already helped him with a number of international arms deals in the past, as well as with his usual contact with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, who had flown to Dubai to coordinate two major shipments of weapons for Hamas in the coming months. It is understandable that the police chief in Dubai prefers not to discuss the issue. Although the UAE has pledged to strictly comply with international sanctions against Iran, implementation is another story. Iran is nearby, and there is a powerful Iranian community in Dubai.

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tarek777 01/17/2011
---Quote (Originally by sysop)--- In the spring of 1989, a Palestinian terrorist murdered an Israeli soldier. Twenty years later in Dubai, the Israeli secret service agency Mossad avenged the killing. The operation succeeded, but*nevertheless has become a*fiasco. SPIEGEL has reconstructed the attack.*By SPIEGEL Staff http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,739908,00.html ---End Quote--- Its funny in this article how the authors glorify the assassins,as if they were doing some great service to humanity not breaking all kinds of laws and committing crimes that violated the sovereignity of other nations including their European friends. Furthermore, there was a slight mention of the irregularity of the release of the Israeli agent from Germany on bail only to leave next day, where he apparently was greeted by the German immigration control on his way back to safety in Israel. If this is not hypocrisy, I don't know what is. I don't think you have any moral lessons to give to anyone.
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Mossad's Revenge
1960 -- Argentina
May 11: Adolf Eichmann is arrested by the Mossad. The German war criminal is put on trial in Jerusalem, sentenced to death, and executed in 1962.
1962/1963 -- Germany and Switzerland
Attacks on German engineers working on the Egyptian missile program. One engineer disappears without a trace. An anonymous caller claims he is dead. One electronics expert is shot after his car is blocked. An engineer survives two bomb attacks. The daughter of a missiles expert is threatened by two Mossad agents, who are arrested.
1972 -- Munich
After the attacks at the Olympic Games in Munich, the Israeli intelligence agency kills more than a dozen of the presumed masterminds from "Black September." Terrorists are killed, but so are the innocent…
1972 -- Rome
October 16: Wael Zwaiter is murdered with 12 shots from a Beretta. Later it becomes known that the Palestinian poet was at most a sympathizer with "Black September."
1973 -- Paris
April 6: The Iraqi jurist Basil al-Kubaissi is shot after visiting a prostitute.
1973 -- Beirut
April 10: An Israeli special unit kills three high-ranking PLO leaders in their apartments. The act shocks the Arab world.
1973 -- Lillehammer
July 21: The Moroccan waiter Ahmed Bouchiki becomes a victim of false identification: Mossad agents mistake him for the chief planner of the Munich attacks and kill him.
1979 -- Beirut
January 22: Ali Hassan Salameh, also known as the "Red Prince," is blown up in his car. Four of the bodyguards working for Salameh, the chief mastermind of the Olympic attacks, are also killed.
1988 -- Tunis
April 16: Mossad agents kill Khalil al-Wazir, who goes by the alias "Abu Jihad," and is the military chief of the PLO.

1992 -- Paris
June 8: Atef Bseiso is the last in the series of executed "Munich" collaborators. He is shot in front of the Hotel Mčridien Montparnasse.
1995 -- Malta
October 26: The Palestinian doctor and founder of "Islamic Jihad," Fathi Shaqaqi, is murdered.
1997 -- Jordan
September 25: A planned attempt to poison Hamas leader Khaled Mashal fails. The agents involved are questioned. Israel has to send an antidote.
2010 -- Dubai
January 19: The Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh is found dead in his hotel room. Video surveillance shows the suspected murderers before and after the act.

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