German officials investigating the murder of Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai have found that one of the suspected assassins carried a genuine German passport, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Saturday.
One German passport was used in the 20 January assassination, which has been attributed to the Israeli spy agency Mossad, although Israel has not confirmed any involvement. Six British, three Irish, and one French passport were also used, according to Dubai police.
Der Spiegel said German intelligence agents found that in June 2009 an Israeli man identifying himself as Michael Bodenheimer – a name listed by police as a member of the hit squad – approached immigration officials in Cologne with the pre-World War II address of his grandparents. Bodenheimer acquired German citizenship on the basis of this information.
After Dubal police listed his name on the 11-member assassination team, a US-born Israeli man also named Michael Bodenheimer said he was a victim of identity theft.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Bodenheimer, who immigrated to Israel from the United States more than 20 years ago, studies at a Jewish religious school and was surprised to see his name on the list. His family says he holds only American and Israeli citizenships.
British officials reported earlier this week that the passports used in the killing were fake. The British government launched an investigation into the apparent passport forgeries.
But the UK’s Independent newspaper reported on Thursday, quoted a source in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, claiming that the British passports were real.
The Independent’s foreign correspondent Robert Fisk quotes his source saying, “The British passports are real. They are hologram pictures with the biometric stamp. They are not forged or fake. The names were really there. If you can fake a hologram or biometric stamp, what does this mean?”
Dubai authorities have also said that the assassins used Austria as their base of operations, and also used at least two US-issued credit cards.