Dubai's police chief said Thursday the investigation into the killing of a Hamas commander now points almost certainly to Israel's Mossad spy agency.
The Web site of UAE daily The National on Thursday quoted Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim saying a probe into the slaying "reveal(s) that Mossad is involved in the murder" of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.
He claimed certainty of "99 percent, if not 100 percent that Mossad is standing behind the murder."
The National is owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE.
Tamim could not immediately be reached for comment.
Names on the passports of seven suspects implicated matched those of people living in Israel, raising possible links. Israelthat Mossad agents were involved.
Many of the suspects were caught on hotel security cameras moving about before and after the killing. In a bizarre twist, one of the suspects is even seen entering a bathroom bald, and emerging in an almost-comical wig.
While few people are privy to the cloak-and-dagger operations of the Mossad, senior Israeli security officials not directly involved with the affair said they were convinced it was a Mossad operation because of the motive and the use of Israeli identities. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of a government order not to discuss the case, characterized it as a significant Mossad bungle.
The assassination has caused significant diplomatic repercussions for Israel in Europe, as well, as some of the passports carried by the suspects were copies of citizens in Britain and Ireland.
Israeli ambassadors in both London and Dublin were asked to meet government officials in the respective countries Thursday to provide some explanation.
CBS News correspondent Robert Berger reports that, even in Israel, there have been many questions asked about why the Mossad would be so brazen as to use the names of real Israelis with foreign passports on such a sensitive mission.
There are significant concerns, and much discussion among the nation's political pundits, over the possible diplomatic fallout, says Berger.
That said, "there's no love for Hamas here," says Berger. "This is seen as part of the war on terror."
Some Israeli commentators have suggested that, despite the summoning of the ambassadors and even impassioned calls by some U.K. politicians to expel the Israeli ambassador if he fails to provide a satisfactory explanation, there is a quiet understanding that among international intelligence agencies, this kind of thing goes on.
Bottom line, says Berger: "Israelis don't take issue with the deed, but rather, how it is done. The idea is not to get caught."