02.02.2010 @ 17:59 CET
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Palestinian militant group Hamas has demanded the European Union work to prevent Israeli security services from using EU passports to carry out "targeted assassination" attempts after the killing of one of its leading members in Dubai.
Mohammed al-Mabhouh, who was attached to the al-Qassam Brigades, the group's military wing, and, according to Israeli sources, was the lead gun-runner from Iran to Gaza, died in mysterious circumstances in Dubai on 20 January.
On Sunday, however, the Dubai police investigating his death revealed that Mr al-Mabhouh had been poisoned by seven individuals travelling on European passports. Hamas has accused EU states of willingly supplying Israel with the identity documents to aid them in foreign operations.
The Palestinian Islamic group blames the Mossad, Israel's national intelligence service, and the Dubai police have also suggested the spy agency is responsible.
"We have no doubts that the Mossad is behind the assassination. Israel is the only enemy of our people in the world," Hamas spokesman Ghazi Hamad told EUobserver. "The Mossad will use any means to achieve their goals, often using European passports to enter Arabic countries."
"It could be Mossad, or another party," police chief Dhahi Khalfan told Agence France Presse. "Personally, I don't exclude any possibility. I don't exclude any party that has an interest in the assassination."
Israeli officials speaking to this website neither confirmed nor denied their country's responsibility for the killing. But some government ministers have spoken out in favour of it.
"Meir Dagan is one of the best Mossad chiefs ever. It's well know that anyone raising his hand against Jews does so at his own risk," said science minister Daniel Hershkowitz on Sunday in response to the events in Dubai, according to a report in Haaretz, the Israeli centre-left newspaper.
"Israel needs, on the one hand, to act according to the rule of killing first one who comes to kill you," said minority affairs minister Avishay Braverman. "And on the other hand, courageously strive for peace using the two states for two peoples solution."
On Sunday, Hamas leaders, including Osama Hamdan, the group's external relations chief, and Abu Obeida, spokesman for the al-Qassam Brigades, said they were contemplating the launching of attacks on European soil, which they have not engaged in until now, accusing Israel of "breaking the rules of the game" by targetting the organisation beyond the Israel/Palestine borders.
However, following high-level discussions, the group, according to Mr Hamad, has pulled back from such language.
"It's not easy for Hamas to keep silent, but because its very complicated development, Hamas will discuss this very carefully. We have never thought to move the struggle with Israel outside Palestine.
"But what happened is very dangerous. It means that Israel could do this again in any country, so Israel must pay the price of its crime."
"At the same time, we are not interested to make Europe a playground of conflict between us and Israel. The EU must take crucial actions to stop using Israel to its passports to kill people."
An Israeli diplomat told this website that he had no idea whether any EU state supplied his country's secret services with such documentation.
Dubai police are not saying which European nations the passports come from. They are are working in partnership with Interpol on the incident and with those European member states involved, but will not say which countries they are.