DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Emirati officials claimed Sunday that at least two more fake Irish passports have been linked to the alleged hit squad accused of killing a Hamas operative in Dubai, and urged European investigators to launch full-scale probes into passport fraud.
The UAE's minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said the Emirates is deeply concerned that the suspected assassins used expertly doctored passports from nations that don't require advance UAE visas, allowing them to enter the country without scrutiny.
Dubai police said earlier this week that at least 11 suspects used altered British, Irish, French and German passports before the Jan. 19 murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. On Sunday, Emirati officials close to the investigation said at least two more suspects in the murder entered the Emirates with fraudulent Irish passports.
They also said some of the 18 suspects visited the Gulf city-state for a reconnaissance mission at least once before the Jan. 19 killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in his Dubai hotel room.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The latest allegations bring the number of fake passports allegedly tied to the killing to 13 — six British, five Irish, one French and one German.
Two Palestinians are in custody and three suspects remain unidentified.