New clues in extensive recount of al-Mabhouh assassination

Ronen Bergman

Ronen Bergman

The current issue of US-based magazine GQ contains what must be the most extensive account in English of the 2010 assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh by Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. Written by Israeli investigative journalist Ronen Bergman (author of The Secret War with Iran), the piece contains several new clues about the targeted killing of al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas official, in a luxury hotel in Dubai last January. One new element that stands out in Bergman’s account is that, two months prior to his assassination, al-Mabhouh survived a poisoning attempt by the same team of Israeli operatives, again in Dubai. The Hamas official fell ill, but recovered fully. Bergman also claims that the operation to target al-Mabhouh, which must have lasted several months or even years, involved the use of an elaborate Trojan horse virus that was implanted on al-Mabhouh’s computer, and allowed Mossad operatives to monitor his email correspondence. It was through this method that the Israelis became aware of al-Mabhouh’s itinerary during his fatal trip to Dubai. The Israeli assassins did not know, however, the precise hotel in which al-Mabhouh would be staying while in Dubai, so they spread around the city, simultaneously monitoring several hotels where the Hamas official had been known to stay in the past. This is the reason, explains Bergman, why the Israeli team can be observed in surveillance camera footage to converge to the five-star Al-Bustan Rotana Hotel shortly after al-Mabhouh made his appearance there. The Israeli journalist also claims that the Mossad operatives communicated with each other and with their handlers in Israel through a dedicated private switchboard located in Austria, in order to avoid direct communication in the course of the assassination operation.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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