Israel's foreign minister says there is no reason to believe that Israel's spy agency, Mossad, was behind the killing of a top commander of the militant group Hamas in Dubai last month. The foreign minister's statement comes as seven Israelis say their identities were stolen and used by the suspected assassins.
Israel has not confirmed or denied involvement in the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a military leader of the Islamist group Hamas that controls the Gaza Strip.
Speaking to Israel Army radio, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the killing at a Dubai hotel room could have been carried out by anyone and he said there is no reason to assume that the Israeli intelligence agency was behind it.
His remarks came as Israeli media quoted several Israelis, who also hold British citizenship, as saying their identities were stolen and put on forged passports used by the suspected assassins in Dubai.
One of the Israelis, Stephen Hodes, told Israeli TV he was shaken upon learning that his name appeared on the list of suspected killers.
Hodes said he is completely shocked. He said the pictures shown with his name in television reports are not his. He said he does not know how his personal details were obtained or who took them. Hodes said he has not been out of Israel in two years and has never been to Dubai.
Police in Dubai have named 11 suspects in the killing of the Hamas commander, all of them bearing fraudulent European passports.
There have been no formal accusations against Israel, but many in the Gaza Strip have been blaming the Jewish state for the killing. Fayek Mabhouh is the brother of the slain Hamas commander.
He says that from the start, he has believed the one who had an interest in killing his brother was Israel.
Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was one of the founders of Hamas, whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel. Al-Mabhouh was regarded as one of the key figures in Hamas' system of smuggling weapons for attacks against Israelis.
Israeli government officials are under orders not to discuss the case. But some former operatives said the methods used to carry out the killing are consistent with how the Israeli intelligence agency has worked in the past..