Daily Mail: Anatomy of an assassination: How Mossad killing could have come straight from the pages of a thriller
By David Jones
Versiunea in romaneste in Curentul: Anatomia unei asasinari ca-n filmeThe assassination could have come from a Frederick Forsyth page-turner.
Timed down to the last second and carried out with chilling effect, it involved many of Mossad's tried and trusted props.
The team wore disguises such as wigs and fake beards, communicated via seemingly untraceable mobile phones, and employed a method of killing so clinically precise that they left no clue behind them.
But they overlooked one factor: in security-obsessed Dubai almost nothing escapes the Big Brother eye of security cameras.
The Dubai police have collated hours of footage revealing the hit squad's every movement, from the moment they strolled nonchalantly up to the immigration desk and presented their cloned passports. A remarkable 27-minute composite of this action has now been released, and it may yet prove the team's undoing.
The target of the Mossad assassination squad was Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, senior commander of the Palestinian paramilitary group Hamas, a man who had topped their hit-list for more than 20 years since his alleged involvement in the killing of two Israeli soldiers.
According to Israeli intelligence, their burly 48-year-old arch-enemy was travelling to Dubai to buy weapons from Iranian arms suppliers; the task was to eliminate him before he could seal the deal.
The video footage picks up the agents as they fly into Dubai on January 19, just 19 hours before the hit is carried out. First to arrive are two agents travelling on passports in the names of Michael Bodenheimer and James Leonard Clarke. With their shaven heads, stubbly beards and swarthy complexions they look decidedly un-European, but their documents state they are German and British.
Al-Mabhouh enters the lift with a member of hotel staff. Two Mossad agents follow disguised in tennis outfits
She even smiles flirtatiously and tosses her brown pony-tail towards her co-assassins, before she dons a wig and reappears with her hair in a thick, centre-parted bob.
Throughout the afternoon, the others fly in. Technical surveillance has shown that they never made direct phone calls to one another. Instead they dialled into a communications centre based in Austria using highly encrypted cyphers. The task of the first wave is surveillance, and they change their appearance accordingly. When next we see Kevin Daveron, for example, he, too, is wearing a thickly-quiffed wig and is completely unrecognisable from the bald, stubbled man we saw before. At 3.20pm we get the first glimpse of the victim as he goes through customs. Members of the surveillance team trail him from the airport to the Al-Bustan Rotana Hotel.
The victim is shown to his room by the hotel staff member, apparently unaware he is still under surveillance by the 'tennis player' agents
For a hunted guerilla fighter, however, al-Mabhouh appears extraordinarily lax about his security, and does not notice them, even though they are stout and look distinctly unsporty.
He remain oblivious even when one of the 'tennis players' follows him along the corridor and watches him open the black-painted door to his room, number 230.
As he settles into the room, with its 42in TV, well- stocked fridge, sunken brown sofa and tasteful cream decor, the assassins are making their final preparations.
The execution is carried out by four assassins working in pairs. They are all square- shouldered men in their prime.
Seven minutes later, the other two appear, one carrying a hold-all and the other with a rucksack over his shoulder.
Shortly after 8pm, when the hotel's staff have left the floor for the evening, they enter the room and make the kill.
At 8.46pm, their grim task completed, the four assassins are filmed again making their way down in the lift.
The CCTV footage shows the execution team leaving the hotel, now dressed as if they were going to play golf. Within two hours, the entire squad are on separate flights out of Dubai.
There was to be another twist: the following day, when al-Mabhouh failed to respond to calls from reception and house-keeping, his door was found to be locked from the inside.
Police believe the killers gained entry either by reprogramming the hotel's locking device with some sophisticated electronic gadgetry, or, more prosaically, by posing as hotel staff members and simply knocking on the door.
Yet neither of these explanations solves the most baffling mystery - how did the killers leave the room when the security chain was fastened inside the door?
Maybe, in the coming days, the answer will emerge.
Perhaps, too, we will learn the real identities of the 'British' assassins. Given the track record of the ruthless Israeli secret services, however, one doubts that they will ever be brought to account.